In spite of a high court ban on burning leaves, the practice continues unabated in the Millennium City. On Monday morning, the illegal practice led to a fire in the green belt along Devi Lal Park in Sector 22.
With the onset of summer, leaf burning adds to air pollution. With the rising mercury, the practice is also a fire hazard. The smoke from burning leaves contains several toxic gases and other irritants — a major cause for concern for those suffering from asthma and other breathing disorders.
“We do not know who is responsible for the nuisance. Gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide are released from burning leaves that trigger respiratory problems,” said an official of the Haryana state pollution control board.
“Awareness is the key to resolve such issues. We have carried out awareness drives across Haryana, covering villages and urban spaces, to inform residents about the harmful effects of burning leaves. Since insects are also burnt in the process, it also adversely affects the ecological balance,” the official added.
Bhawani Shankar, a resident of Sector 23A, said, “It is the responsibility of the horticulture department to take action. For the past 15 days, frequent fires have been reported due to burning of leaves.”
Shankar added that sweepers employed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority often burn garbage collected from different households in violation of norms.