Considering the urgency, the Bombay High Court will hear on Tuesday the PIL seeking directions to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Maharashtra 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.
A division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor, on Monday, also asked the petitioners to add the Union of India and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) as respondents to the PIL.
Three city residents — Amar Baban Tike, 50, Anand Jha, 44, and Sanjay Surve, 39 — filed the PIL on October 28 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 and childrens are worst affected.
Advocate for the petitioners, Prashant Pandey, said that he will carry out the necessary amendment to the PIL and add Centre and CPCB as respondents by the end of the day. Pandey has also been asked to serve a copy of the PIL to the newly added respondents.
Plea seeks enquiry into the working of BMC's Garden and Trees Department
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.
The petitioners run a campaign ‘DREAM MUMBAI A FOREST’ working towards enhancing green urban landscapes in Mumbai that are aesthetically pleasing, functional and enhance green surroundings for the community, by planting beautiful trees and plants.
Seeking implementation of urgent measures, the plea states that because of extreme air pollution, people are falling sick, children have developed cough & lung infections. A serious health crisis is looming over the residents of Mumbai City and its Suburbs.
“The lack of appropriate and quality Green Cover in the city is a serious concern and needs to be immediately addressed as it is quite likely that in view of growing population and traffic and reckless construction activity, this may lead to a life threatening situation for residents of Mumbai City,” the plea reads.
It also contends that the BMC and its Garden & Trees Department, which have statutory obligation, to curb the air pollution, have “miserably failed” in discharge of their duties.