More than one-third of complaints received by the Delhi government through its “Swachh Delhi App” has remained unassigned due to location issues. Of the 9,530 complaints received since the app was launched in November 2016, during peak smog conditions in the city, only 6,463 have been forwarded to authorities, a Delhi government official told The Indian Express. The rest of the complaints have not been forwarded as the exact location of pollutant are untraceable.
The app, which has over 1,00,000 downloads on Google play store, was lauded as “first-of-its-kind” during its launch last year to crack down on air pollution. Residents of Delhi were urged to click photographs to “report on vehicular, construction pollution and burning of leaves”. They were also promised prompt action by sanitation inspectors. The government even assured users that inspectors will be fined for not following up on complaints. The app was to enable maintenance of a database of pollution spots in the city.
Despite a 3.7 rating on the app store, users have been uncharitable with their reviews with many calling the app unhelpful and a political gimmick of the AAP government. One user posted: “I tried to upload the picture of malba at Mayapuri metal forging chowk but this app shows the message ‘location is not in our area’.”
Another user claims to have wasted weeks trying to get the authorities to heed his complaint. He later resorted to RWA funding to clean up his neighbourhood. Others talk of no action taken after weeks since pictures were uploaded or technical issues with uploading the pictures.
The Delhi government’s app was launched a month after the Supreme Court-appointed Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for Delhi and NCR (EPCA) launched the Hawa Badlo app. “The app is expected to act as an accountability, public information, dissemination and public engagement mechanism,” said Sunita Narain, member, EPCA.
Meanwhile, the meeting held Tuesday by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to review the air pollution scenario led to the DPCC agreeing to set up 20 more monitoring stations, 14 of them by October. Both Municipal Corporations and Public Works Department will procure more diesel-run mechanical sweeping machines.