Agencies slow to act against polluters

As Delhiites choke on thick smog and poor air quality, government agencies and municipal corporations are yet to ramp up action against dust pollution and burning of waste, shows data from the Delhi Environment and Forest Department.

As per National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders, fines for construction sites causing dust pollution and individuals burning waste are ₹50,000 and ₹5,000, respectively. All land-owning agencies as well as the Delhi Pollution Control Committee are supposed to enforce these rules.

According to the latest action-taken reports (ATRs) submitted by the various agencies to the Environment Department, some departments have ramped up action, while others have not.

‘Must strengthen action’

Environment Minister Imran Hussain, who held a review meeting on October 27 to discuss the ATRs, said that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had been the slowest to act.

As per the ATR, the DDA had only issued two challans for dust pollution and one for waste burning as on September 30 this year. That being said, the DDA has conducted 971 and 1,378 inspections for dust pollution and waste burning, respectively.

Agencies slow to act against polluters

“We routinely see garbage being burnt in empty plots and parks of the DDA as well as the Yamuna floodplains, which is under DDA’s jurisdiction. The other departments are cracking down but there is need to strengthen action, particularly by the DDA,” said Mr. Hussain.

He added that the civic bodies and departments had been directed to take the matter seriously and send their nodal officers for review meetings, which will take place every 10 days during the winter months, when pollution levels worsen.

As per the ATRs, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has issued the most challans for both dust pollution and waste burning, with 4,529 and 891 respectively as on October 9. The EDMC has issued fines for a total of ₹1.31 crore and ₹18.11 lakh for dust pollution and waste burning, respectively.

“Our goal is not to increase the revenue from fines, but to control the pollution so Delhiites can get some respite,” said Mr. Hussain, referring to the prevailing high levels of particulate pollution.

‘Very poor’ air quality

As per the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi’s Air Quality Index at 4 p.m. on Wednesday was 355, putting it in the ‘very poor’ category.

Both the levels of the fine particulate matter PM2.5 and the coarse PM10 were well over the standards.

Data on number of challans issues by agencies for violation of environmental laws


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 2:38:09 AM |

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