It’s no secret that air pollution in Delhi, and the rest of the metro cities in India for that matter, is of the poorest quality. People and children’s health is at risk and so is the environment. However, it took a scathing remark by American President Donald Trump for the slow-to-act legal system to do something about it. A testament to the governing bodies’ chalta hai attitude when it comes to its own citizens, until the all-important image is at stake on a global platform!
Trump made the controversial “filthy air” remark about India during a presidential debate on Friday morning. By Monday, the Indian government had swooped into action. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court on October 26 that the central government is working towards legislation to tackle the air pollution in Delhi and NCR. Results in black and white are expected as early as next week.
The government has not only established a body (of experts) to address the problem of air pollution in Delhi for this new law, there is going to be a permanent such body to enact the law. First on the agenda is stubble burning in the states around Delhi. It’s common knowledge that stubble burning by farmers in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab is among the chief culprits of the air pollution in Delhi, but there was close to no action on this front.
As of now, the Supreme Court which is the apex legal body, has appointed a one-man commission comprising Justice Lokur to supervise the ways to prevent stubble burning. Another hearing is expected tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Gopal Rai has made an announcement that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is set to launch the Green Delhi mobile app expressly created for curbing air pollution in Delhi. Citizens can notify the government about pollution-causing activities in their locality.
Indian environmentalists and scientists have been crying hoarse about the poor air quality in Delhi for decades, but neither did the legal system act on it nor did the government. One remark from Trump on the podium has them rustling up a new law. If only more global leaders, especially the loose-tongued Trump, made biting remarks about India. Perhaps the administration would take notice and swoop into action where appeals by activists have failed to grab their attention.