- The National Green Tribunal has stated that builders will have to face the consequences of polluting the air.
- Builders will be liable for all costs to cover the effects of air pollution., including payment of wages to labourers.
- The tribunal noted that spikes in air pollution were due to dust emanating from construction sites.
NEW DELHI: The principle that "polluter pays" was on Thursday applied by the National Green Tribunal which said that it is builders and not the construction workers who will have to face "consequences" for polluting ambient air quality in the national capital.
The green panel clarified that whenever work is halted due to air pollution caused by construction activity in the city, it will be the builder who will have to face all its consequences including payment of wages to the labourers during the period.
"It is a settled rule of environmental jurisprudence that polluter pays principle covers all consequential effects of air pollution. It is the polluter who is expected to take all precautions and also face consequences.
"If a builder is causing pollution to ambient air quality, he has to bear all the consequences. In other words, builder will not be able to deny wages, partially or fully, when work is stopped for causing air pollution," the bench said in its order.
The tribunal directed the authorities concerned to submit minutes of meeting of the centralised monitoring committee, formed by the NGT to prepare action plans to combat air pollution in Delhi, by tomorrow.
It also directed the Delhi government to place its order of November 10 on air pollution before competent authorities along with data on ambient quality as informed by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
"We are informed that the meeting to be convened by the Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests is fixed today. Let the minutes of the meeting be placed before the NGT," it said.
The bench noted that as per the data submitted on November 14-15, there was a spike in particulate matter (PM) 10, which is found in dust emanating from construction activities and the details demonstrate that PM2.5 and PM10 levels were still 4-5 times higher than the prescribed values.
"Even today, we are informed that PM10 is 606 micrograms per cubic metre and PM2.5 is 147 micrograms per cubic metre respectively in Anand Vihar, which according to the CPCB is the worst polluted area in Delhi," the bench said.
On November 10, the tribunal had passed a slew of directions including setting up of centralised and state-level monitoring committees to prepare action plans to combat pollution and asked four northern states to consider banning old diesel vehicles in a bid to tackle environment emergencies.