Burning plastic waste in the open has proved costly for some families in west Delhi’s Mundka — their land worth Rs. 8 crore has been confiscated by the government.
A group of people in Mundka had erected temporary structures on their land, where they were illegally burning poly-vinyl-chloride (PVC) and scrap.
The residents of the area took up the matter with the sub-divisional magistrate of Punjabi Bagh (west district) and raid was conducted, after which 21 acres of land was taken over.
“The land was meant for agricultural use. But the families had set up various structures and were burning plastic in the open, which is hazardous. An investigation was carried out and we confiscated the land,” said a Delhi government official.
Health experts say that such heavily polluted air can severely harm the respiratory system. “Apart from mild irritation to aggravating asthma, prolonged exposure can even lead to lung damage,” said a senior doctor at AIIMS.
The land has now been given to the gram panchayat. “They will turn it into a green belt,” added the official.
The officials said that similar action will be taken in other parts of the city as well where agricultural land is being misused by the people.
They said though there is a provision of confiscating private land for misuse in the Delhi Land Reform Act, no such action was taken earlier.
“We had initiated similar action in other areas but the owners gave us an undertaking that they will not use the land for commercial or any other purpose other than agriculture. Therefore, we didn’t confiscate their land,” said a senior Delhi government official.
Officials said that burning plastic in the open is equivalent to the pollution created by industries that cannot operate within non-conforming areas.
“The Delhi High Court had also given us the directions to crack down on all those who are polluting the air,” added the official.