Notwithstanding the municipal corporation's (MC) ban on burning dry leaves, the practice is rampant across the city. As per the officials not only residents, but even safai karamcharis have reportedly been found burning dry leaves, thus polluting the environment. Though the authorities have been regularly fining the defaulters the practice goes unabated.
Amarjeet Singh Sekhon, chief of health and sanitation wing of MC, said, "Burning of dry leaves have been totally banned by the MC. We had already suspended three safai karamchari. Moreover, we had issued more than 500 challans to defaulters this year till now."
Burning of leaves is a common problem, which has affected the city residents. Amarjeet Singh Bath, a resident of Barewal Road, said, "The MC safai karamcharis start cleaning the city roads across the city early in the morning. Usually after collecting the leaves at a place, these workers burn it, which pollutes the residential areas. People go for a morning walk at this time to breathe fresh air, and the smoke from the burning leaves is very annoying."
"One the side MC employees are watering plants and on on the other hand, dry leaves is being burnt by the safai karamcharis. Authorities should inspect this regularly," he said.
He said, "I have told karamcharis not to burn leaves many a times, as it damages trees. Instead of burning leaves, these can be used to make manure for plants."
Rupinder Kaur, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, said, "I have seen people burning leaves under trees many times. Sometimes even plastic and other waste are also burnt, which emanate dangerous gasses that could cause serious health problems. Authorities should take steps to keep a check on these activities."
This practice on the one hand is causing environmental damage and on the other hand is leading to various health problems among city residents.
Gurdial Singh, joint director of agriculture, Punjab, said, "Leaf burning causes many environmental problems. Firstly, the land where leaves are burnt loses its nutrients due to burning. Moreover, leaf burning also leads to health ailments in people living nearby."
Meanwhile, Sekhon said, "If any worker is found burning dry leaves, legal action will be taken against him."
NGO 'Pehal' also took the initiative by organising the 'Pattal Drive' and shared about the problems being faced by using disposable plates and glasses.
All gurdwaras, mandirs and welfare societies' presidents were also addressed to join this drive and avoid using thermocol and plastic disposables.
Organisation members expressed that leaf burning should also be stopped and people should be motivated to use waste leaves to form manure.