The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on Sunday criticised the Delhi and Haryana governments for not controlling plastic burning as well as road and construction dust, which are responsible for causing pollution.
EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal and other officials on Sunday visited Mundka and Tikri Kalan in Delhi, and Bahadurgarh in Haryana, and asked the officials to take immediate action. On July 21, The Hindu had reported on these illegal plastic scrap markets.
“We visited areas in and around Mundka and found heaps of plastic in multiple locations and directed the municipal authorities to remove all of it,” Mr. Lal said, adding: “There should not be any burning of plastic at any cost.” He also said there were reports of plastic being set on fire.
Despite a National Green Tribunal ban and ₹25 crore fine on the Delhi government in 2018 for failing to crack down on illegal plastic markets in Tikri Kalan and nearby villages, several such markets are still running openly.
Special Secretary of Environment Department of Delhi Arun Mishra said, “The PWD has been directed to sprinkle water on the roads throughout the winter to control dust pollution. Also, the corporation has been asked to clear plastic scrap yards.”
Over ₹1 crore in fines
He added that the government is taking action against violators and on Sunday more than ₹1 crore in fines were imposed during the inspection. Mr. Lal also directed the Bahadurgarh District Magistrate to hand over a piece of land to the illegal scrap market running in agricultural land near Geetanjali Colony. The market segregates scrap plastic.
“The process of handing over land and traders building temporary structures to run the business should be completed within 15 days,” Mr. Lal directed the DM.
Where does plastic go?
The EPCA chief termed the market as “mountains” of rubber and plastic and directed the administration to inform him about what traders are doing with the plastic that is of no use to them and to whom the plastic is being sold.
Tikri Kalan has a legal PVC market on Delhi Development Authority land which deals with scrap plastic.
Officials said this market is the “seed”, which has grown and spread to nearby areas, unchecked by authorities. Scrap plastic from these markets is taken to the agricultural fields in Haryana and burnt there.
The EPCA chief also directed the PWD to sprinkle water on the roads in Mundka.
“Arrange tankers and make sure that the roads are sprinkled regularly,” he told PWD officials.
On Sunday, the main roads in Mundka were dusty and marked with potholes. In many parts, the service lanes were kachha (unpaved) roads and residents said it was difficult to breath when they walk through the area.