Letter written to the Chairman of CAQM highlighting deteriorating air quality in Delhi

Environmentalists Aditya Dubey and Aman Banka have written a letter to the Chairman Commission for Air Quality Management Dr. M.M. Kutty on the deteriorating air quality in New Delhi.

File:Low visibility due to Smog at New Delhi Railway station 31st Dec 2017 after 9AM DSCN8829 1.jpg
Representational Image/credits: Sumita Roy Dutta

After the ordinance of the Commission on Air Quality Management (CAQM) lapsed, an application was moved before the Supreme Court in January this year by student environmentalist Aditya Dubey for the Lokur committee to be made operational again.

The Centre established the commission in October last year but nearly five months after its setup, CAQM in National Capital Region and its Adjoining Areas was shut down due to lapsing of the ordinance.

The letter reads, “Due to the kind intervention of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Central Government promulgated the “Commission for Management of Air Quality in Delhi & Adjoining Areas Ordinance” to manage the air quality of the region. Subsequently, in the exercise of the powers under the said ordinance, the Central Government had appointed the CAQM Commission in October 2020.

The creation of the Commission had given citizens hope that now at least the AQI levels of Delhi will be brought under control and our ‘Right To Breathe’ unpolluted air, enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, will be protected. However, our hopes were dashed when the air quality of Delhi continued to remain severe and unhealthy during the winters of 2020 and even post winter in the Year 2021.”

The letter also mentions the drastic consequences of air pollution on the respiratory systems of the citizens as well as the various studies that point towards a relation between COVID-19 poor air quality.

“The air quality of Delhi and adjoining areas continue to remain unhealthy in spite of the fact that ten months have passed since the enactment of the CAQM Ordinance. This has given rise to an apprehension that the creation of the Commission was just a cosmetic step to somehow escape strict action by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on this issue,” says Aditya.

He adds, “Winters are just a few months away and this is normally the worst season in terms of air quality for Delhi. Therefore, we have written this letter to CAQM to give them a chance to share, with the people, what steps they have taken so far to control air pollution in Delhi. The next hearing is fixed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 19th July so in case we do not get a satisfactory response from the commission then we will request the Hon’ble Court to consider judicial supervision of the CAQM to ensure that the Commission performs its statutory duties.”

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