NCRB Says Delhi Had Zero Cases of Air or Water Pollution in 2017, While Nation Saw Only 36 Such Incidents
Given the country’s pollution scenario, an official of the Central Pollution Control Board described the registering of such less number of cases a “dismal”, similar to the number of such cases lodged a year ago.
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New Delhi: No case air or water pollution was registered in Delhi in 2017, even as Rajasthan topped the list with 16 of the total 36 cases lodged in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report.
Given the country’s pollution scenario, an official of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) described the registering of such less number of cases a “dismal”, similar to the number of such cases lodged a year ago.
In 2016, 25 cases were registered under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and 11 under Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act.
Unlike the 2016 report though, the NCRB has clubbed the two acts together and has not given a separate break-up.
This came at a time when of the 30 cities in the world with the worst air, 22 were found to be in India, with Delhi taking the lead as the world’s most polluted capital, as per a report from earlier this year by Greenpeace and AirVisual.
Their analysis of air quality found 64% of 3,000 cities around the world exceeding the World Health Organisation’s annual exposure guideline for PM2.5 fine particulate matter — tiny airborne particles, a fraction the width of human hair that embeds itself into the human body and is linked to health issues.
The NCRB report found that Gurugram in Haryana was the most polluted, followed by Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. Faridabad in Haryana, Noida and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Patna in Bihar were also on the list.
Three cases were lodged in Haryana under the air and water acts, while none were registered in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, said the NCRB’s 2017 report.
Haryana is also among the states most likely to be facing a crippling water crisis in the coming years, with groundwater levels depleting rapidly.
Meanwhile, the polluted stretches of Indian rivers increased to 351 in 2018 compared to 302 in 2016, as per an analysis done by the CPCB. Maharashtra, Assam and Gujarat accounted for 117 of these stretches. A single case under the air and water acts was lodged in Maharashtra and Gujarat, none in Assam, added the NCRB.
Both the acts have their genesis in the UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June, 1972 (known as the Stockholm Conference) and the Stockholm Declaration resolved to preserve the environment and control pollution.
India was also a part of the conference and enacted the Air Act along the lines of the earlier Water Act. While the CPCB acts as a regulatory body, state governments and their pollution control boards are given the power to prevent and control air pollution. They are also armed with punitive powers.
Anumita Roychoudhury, Centre for Science and Environment, said, "Enforcement is the real challenge. You can have plans and laws, but these need to be strictly enforced."
A CPCB official told News18 on the condition of anonymity, “State pollution control boards have the power to take action and take punitive measures to act as a deterrent. But they're not doing this. They are just issuing warnings and letting them go."
The five green laws under which violators are booked in the country include Indian Forest Act, 1927, Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
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