As a thick blanket of smog envelops the Capital because of vehicular pollution and crop burning in neighbouring states, a quick-fix solution to dispose of garbage locally is contributing to the menace.
Waste is burnt all over the city despite a blanket ban and orders by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Hindustan Times received complaints from different corners of the Capital with residents ruing the civic bodies’ apathy and their neighbours’ ignorance.
While Dwarka resident Rakesh Misra informed how burning of garbage had become a routine matter in Sector 6, Anil Sharma of Mayapuri Industrial Area in west Delhi shared the problems faced by residents there. “Tea stalls and dhabas burn their waste right in front of their shops. In the wee hours, corporation safai karamcharis burn the garbage instead of taking it to the dhalaos,” Sharma said.
Tushar Kapoor, a Gurgaon resident, wrote and shared the problems of people near Vatika Towers on Golf Course Road, Gurgaon.
S Sharma, a northwest Delhi resident, who has been writing to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for some time highlighting the issue, felt the government and its agencies would not bother unless stern action was taken. “The polluters will not stop till there is some strong deterrence. Not only there is a mockery of NGT orders, but it also shows that government is not at all serious in dealing with the situation, which has already reached dangerous proportions according to the World Heath Organisation. The government and its agencies must be made accountable,” Sharma said.
In April, the NGT had banned burning of garbage in open and directed authorities in Delhi and NCR to impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone caught burning waste — garbage, leaves, plastic, rubber or other items — in open areas. A person found burning or abetting burning of garbage is supposed to pay the fine on the spot. But nothing has changed on the ground.
Dr TK Joshi, director of occupational and environmental health programme at the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Maulana Azad Medical College said, “Stopping garbage burning in the neighbourhoods is very essential as it locally impacts the air quality. More than a million people in Delhi suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD),” Joshi said.