[JURIST] The Supreme Court of India upheld a temporary ban on diesel vehicles in New Delhi on Tuesday in an effort to reduce air pollution. Diesel vehicles will be forced to take alternative routes rather than simply traveling through the city. The ban [Reuters report] will likely impact automakers such as Mercedes Benz and and Toyota Motor Corp, which have made significant investments into producing diesel cars for Indian consumers. Auto manufacturers are arguing that diesel cars barely contribute to pollution, claiming the majority of pollution arises from vehicles with smaller engines. Environmental groups are fighting to extend the ban to smaller cars as well in an effort to drastically reduce the amount of pollution within India.
Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. However, India has sought to improve environmental conditions. In 2010 the Indian government introduced a new court system that only handles environmental litigation. The National Green Tribunal, which was established by the Indian Parliament [official website] under the National Green Tribunal Act [text, PDF], consists of a chairperson, and up to a maximum of 20 judicial officers, as well as 20 environmental experts. In addition, India is a participant in the Convention on Biodiversity [official website], offering its National Green Tribunal as one of several policies that promotes environmental conservation [report text, PDF]. Last January UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called on India [JURIST report] to be a world leader in sustainable development, praising the efforts the country has made thus far on the matter.