India’s Supreme Court slams officials over Delhi air pollution

Nov. 4 (UPI) — India’s Supreme Court sharply criticized Delhi officials Monday for air pollution there that has left many residents wearing masks for several days.

Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta slammed officials for failing to take action on the pollution, blamed on crop burning in Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, claiming that no one is safe, even inside their homes.

“Can we survive in this atmosphere? This is not the way we can survive,” the court said. “Delhi is choking every year and we are not able to do anything. Question is that every year this is happening. It cannot be done in a civilized country.”

Dangerous particles, known as PM 2.5, have been registered more than 10 times over the safe limit in Delhi. City residents were warned by local health officials not to go outside and to avoid physical activity and risk of respiratory illness.

Delhi officials also have started a car rationing program to curtail some of the high air pollution levels.

Under that plan, which will be in effect from Monday to Nov. 15, cars with odd or even number plates will operate on roads during alternate days.

The Supreme Court ordered that Punjab and Haryana put out fires from stubbles in agricultural fields and submit a report by Wednesday.

“If stubble burning takes place, the entire administration — from the chief secretary to the gram pradhan will be responsible,” the court said.

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