The High Court (HC) has directed the government to take appropriate steps immediately to implement the nine-point directive, which was issued in last January to curb air pollution in Dhaka and surrounding areas.
At the same time, the court asked the government to submit a report on the measures within 30 days.
A virtual HC bench of Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Mohammad Ali passed the order Tuesday.
Advocate Manzill Murshid was present at the court in favour of the hearing, while Deputy Attorney General ABM Abdullah-Al Mahmud Bashar represented the state. Advocate Amatul Karim represented the Department of Environment, Advocates Taufiq Inam Tipu and Farida Yasmin represented Dhaka North and Dhaka South City Corporations respectively.
Responding to a writ petition filed by rights organisation "Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh" to check air pollution in the capital and adjacent areas, the HC issued the 9-point directive on 13 January this year.
The directives are as follows: cover construction materials during transport; cover the materials at construction sites; sprinkle water on road surfaces; ensure compliance with tender terms & conditions for infrastructural works in Dhaka; seize vehicles that emit black smoke; set the economic life of different vehicles and restrict their movement beyond those (expiry) dates; shut down illegal brick kilns; shut down unlicensed burning of tyres; shut down unlicensed battery recycling factories; and store market/shop-generated garbage in bags, to facilitate their easy collection by the city corporations.
Advocate Manzill Murshid said level of air pollution had begun to drop when these measures were put in place in February. But several media reports now indicate that air quality in Dhaka has returned to previous alarming levels.
Providing those news reports as supporting evidence, "Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh" filed a petition with the Supreme Court on 15 November to curb air pollution. The petition was heard on 17 and 23 November.
Manzill Murshid also said that the court had commented on the extremely alarming descriptions of air pollution in the attached media reports. This may well endanger human lives if left unaddressed.
The court directed the defendants to take steps to implement the nine-point directive and to submit a report in the next 30 days on the measures being taken.