The growing incidents of breathing related allergies among the new-born and young calls for a collective effort to clean up the air. Supreme Court had said that automobile giants have a huge role in clearing up the air shows how environment has degraded due to the growing vehicular emission pollution. A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta noted that the use of BS-IV auto fuel reduces particulate matter in the air by 80 per cent as compared to BS-III auto fuel. The Bench observed that while the development versus environment paradigm could be debated upon, there cannot be any debate in the development versus public health paradigm. However it is time to realise that a collective effort is needed to clear up the air and in this process auto makers have a huge role. The Court came heavily on auto-makers and said health of every person in our country is important and we are more than reluctant to accept any submission that health of the people can be compromised, even in the smallest measure, for the commercial interests of the automobile industry or of any industry for that matter. While criticising auto giants for not planning out its activities to phase out BS-III vehicles and bring in BS-IV ones in a time span of over five years, the bench praised some auto-makers for responsible response by taking necessary ‘down to business’ approach. The attempt, sadly, seems to have been to push all concerned to the wall by putting before them a fait accompli situation and by ignoring the concerns of millions of country men and women who are entitled to breathe fresh air or at least breathe less polluted air. This was evident from the past practice when it had become necessary for the Government to virtually submit to the commercial interests of the automobile industry by permitting the registration of BS-III compliant vehicles in some cities while permitting the sale and registration of BS-I and BS-II compliant vehicles in other cities even after the cut-off date of April 1, 2005.
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