Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia directed the three municipal corporations and other local bodies to make their helpline numbers public by Monday in order to ensure that people can lodge complaints related to burning of waste in open areas. Sisodia also directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to display its helpline numbers on its website.
The directions were issued during a review meeting held by Sisodia and Delhi Environment minister Asim Ahmed Khan on the action taken by sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) on the prevention of burning of leaves, garbage and plastic in the open. Sisodia had expressed his concern that the municipal bodies have not made serious efforts to prevent burning of waste.
During the meeting, the issue of air pollution caused by dust from construction activity was also discussed. DPCC has issued notices/guidelines to 172 construction sites for violating norms pertaining to pollution caused by dust.
Last month, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed authorities in Delhi-NCR to impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on individuals caught burning waste in open areas. The NGT noted that “it is on record” that while burning of garbage and other wastes is not the only source of pollution, it accounts for “29.4 per cent of air pollution with regard to PM 10 levels”. NGT had also said to provide pits in parks for proper composting of leaves.
A senior official of the Environment department said, “While the Delhi government has begun awareness drives and inspection of parks, burning of leaves is rarely looked upon as a crime… The SDMs have reported that they have begun inspection of the sites which come under them. So the municipal bodies and the Environment department need to work closely in order to ensure that burning of leaves and waste is stopped.”
The Environment minister also directed that all the land-owning agencies and departments should publicise the NGT ban order and the severe action that will be taken against violators. Nodal officers of local bodies as well as DDA and district magistrates attended the meeting along with the Environment department officers.