After taking suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the city's persistent bad air quality, the Bombay High Court has now questioned the effective functioning of the BMC with regard to controlling air pollution. Although the municipality has taken certain steps to mitigate the air pollution, the air quality index (AQI) has not improved so as to bring the same within the healthy limits, said a division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor.
In a detailed order, which was made available on Wednesday, the HC referred to various media reports over the past few days and said that the same 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.”
Steps to spread awareness among citizens
The bench also took note of the fact that the civic body has not taken steps to spread awareness among the citizens regarding the deteriorating air quality and how they can safeguards themselves. “No steps have been taken to create or 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. This factor needs immediate attention,” the court said.
The court had issued notices to the central and the state governments, BMC, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Board and sought to know from them what measures have been undertaken to tackle the problem. The bench noted that the air quality remained bad in the past 20 days. The court sought assistance of Advocate General Birendra Saraf in the matter and also appointed senior Advocate Darius Khambatta as amicus curiae (friend of the court). The next hearing has been scheduled on November 6.