No steps taken by authorities to raise awareness about air quality: Bombay HC
The bench issued a notice to Maharashtra and Union governments, BMC, MPCB, and CPCB, seeking information on measures taken to address the issue
The Bombay High Court has noted that no steps have been taken by authorities to create health advisories or awareness among citizens about the deleterious air quality index (AQI) presently prevailing in the city.
A division bench of chief justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor made this observation in its order while taking suo motu cognisance of the air pollution in Mumbai.
The bench on Tuesday issued a notice to the Maharashtra government, the Union government, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and sought to know from them what measures have been undertaken to tackle the problem.
The court said it would hear the plea further on 6 November.
In its detailed order, made available on Wednesday, it referred to media reports and said the AQI in Mumbai over the past 15 to 20 days has ranged from between 150 (moderate) and 411 (severe).
It noted that while the reports say the BMC has taken certain steps to reduce and/or mitigate the air pollution in Mumbai, the AQI levels have not improved so as to bring the same within the healthy limits.
"Further, we must note and what is crucial is that no steps have been taken to create/issue the necessary health advisories as also to raise awareness amongst the citizens so as to best safeguard themselves from deleterious levels of AQI presently prevailing in Mumbai. This factor needs immediate attention," the order said.
The court said the media reports present an "alarming scenario and one which needs to be urgently addressed and tackled in the welfare and interest of all the residents of Mumbai and its surrounding areas, young and old alike".
The court sought the assistance of advocate general Birendra Saraf in the matter and also directed senior advocate Darius Khambata to appear as amicus curiae (to assist the court).
Apart from the suo motu public interest litigation, three city residents had also filed a plea in the high court raising concerns over the same issue.