Mumbai: Expressing concern over “deteriorating” air quality index (AQI) in Mumbai, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday took suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the issue and sought responses from the authorities concerned.
A division bench of Chief Justice (CJ) DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor issued notices to the Central and Maharashtra governments, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and asked them to file their responses.
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by three city residents – Amar Baban Tike, 50, Anand Jha, 44, and Sanjay Surve, 39 — highlighting news reports and experts’s views which suggest that the high level of air pollution is being caused by reckless construction activity and lack of sufficient green cover in Mumbai City which is adversely affecting Mumbai residents, especially children.
“The air quality index in the city every day is deteriorating like anything...everywhere... not a single area in Mumbai the air quality is better,” CJ remarked.
CJ Directs Officials Over Worsening AQI
The bench has asked all the authorities concerned to inform the measures taken by them and the steps they were supposed to have taken under the existing laws.
The CJ added: “We will pass a detailed order. We are also taking suo motu cognisance of the air quality in Mumbai city. What measures have been taken by these authorities. AQI is deteriorating everywhere, not even a single area is spared.”
The HC has kept the matter for hearing on November 6.
The PIL seeks directions to the BMC and the state government to curb the pollution in the city and to take immediate steps to enhance green cover in the city by undertaking plantation drive of fast growing trees and plants in various public spaces in the city.
Also, the plea seeks enquiry into the working of the Garden and Trees Department of BMC over the last 10 years and urges that its accounts be audited by an Independent Auditor. Besides, it has also sought that the details be provided regarding the budget allotted to the Garden Department in the last 10 years, and funds utilised to plant new trees in the last 10 years.