The Delhi government has asked its officials to crack down on open burning of garbage, plastics and leaves in the capital. It has also announced a helpline number (9717593574), to be managed by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), for registration of complaints in this matter.
The government, in a statement, has asked all sub-divisional magistrates to carry out regular inspections and surprise checks.
While the government’s order comes in the background of the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) crackdown on diesel vehicles in the capital, experts said similar orders had been issued in the past, but enforcement remained a problem.
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“The government needs to ensure that all field officers take strict action. Once action is taken in some key areas, there will be an impact. Even in upscale places like Prithviraj Road, leaves are being burnt in bungalows right now as they are falling,” said Bhure Lal of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
The NGT had banned the “unregulated open burning” of plastic, rubber or other such articles across the country in December 2013. According to a source apportionment study done by Nagpur-based National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), “area sources, mainly fuel combustion/open burning” are 35 per cent contributors to carbon monoxide and 46 per cent to hydrocarbon emissions.
According to the government, a series of directions had been issued to deputy commissioners, top officials of the three municipal corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council, Public Works Department, CPWD, Delhi Development Authority, DPCC and Delhi Parks and Garden Society.
Officials have been directed to designate nodal officers, who will check such burnings in their respective areas on a regular basis.
A total of 207 locations have been scanned by the DPCC till now, while inputs regarding “sensitive locations” have been forwarded to the Delhi Police and the municipal corporations to take action to prevent cases of open burning.
“Public complaints against the burning of garbage, waste material and leaves, can be sent on DPCC WhatsApp helpline number 9717593574. Facebook users can also connect on the page titled — Delhi Pollution Control Committee,” it added.
The Department of Environment also maintained that they were in the process of finalising a series of strict measures against defaults, including fines, and were also looking to put up hoardings to increase awareness.
“People don’t realise that by burning leaves, they are making the air more polluted for themselves. The grave damage that a simple act like burning plastic can do is something that we need to drive home,” the official said.
The government has also decided to make optimum use of platforms like FM radio and social media, the official added.