EPCA asks agencies to jointly patrol industrial areas to check pollution
EPCA also asked the government and civic agencies to make plans for removal of garbage, construction and demolition waste from these spots and ensure that vacant plot of lands were not used for dumping waste or garbage and also that it is not burnt.Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 03:46 IST
The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Tuesday directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to ask all agencies concerned to begin joint night patrolling of pollution hot spots across Delhi from October 15.
EPCA also asked the government and civic agencies to make plans for removal of garbage, construction and demolition waste from these spots and ensure that vacant plot of lands were not used for dumping waste or garbage and also that it is not burnt.
“We have directed the DPCC to write to all agencies concerned to begin night patrolling of hots pots from October 15 to prevent burning of waste and streamlining of vehicular traffic, which contributes to pollution in these areas. Also, we have asked them to prepare long-term plans for removal of waste dumped in these areas. The situation will be reviewed in two weeks,” said Sunita Narain, member EPCA.
After a month in which Delhi saw its cleanest air in five years, air pollution has gone up in Delhi over the past few weeks. With little possibility of more rainfall this month, the air quality may deteriorate further by the end of this month, scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) have said. Air pollution in Delhi usually peak in winters.
In Delhi, 13 areas —Okhla Phase-II, Dwarka, Ashok Vihar, Bawana, Narela, Mundka, Punjabi Bagh, Wazirpur, Rohini, Vivek Vihar, Anand Vihar, RK Puram and Jahangirpuri—were identified as hot spots by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and DPCC last year since pollution levels, specially particulate matter (PM) concentrations, in these areas were higher than the city’s average.
In an action taken report prepared by the EPCA based on inspection of 15 locations, including the hot spots and surrounding areas, the anti-pollution watchdog found that dumping of garbage/construction and demolition waste/industrial waste, road dust as well as traffic congestion are major contributors to high pollution levels in these areas.
EPCA inspected several locations, mostly having confirmed and non-confirmed industrial pockets, during August-September. They include Dwarka, Okhla Phase II, Wazirpur, Mayapuri, Rohini, Gandhi Nagar, Jahangirpuri, Anand Vihar, Jhilmil industrial area, Mandoli, Vivek Vihar, Mundka-Tikri, Punjabi Bagh, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, Urban Extension Road-Narela and Narela industrial area.
“In most industrial areas, plastic, rubber and cloth waste was found dumped and burning in some places. More material was found stacked for burning. We have asked concerned agencies to file an action taken report in the matter before the next review meeting. Also, to prevent dumping of waste on vacant plots, we have asked the agencies to convert them into green patches like parks and put up boards to display ownership. The DPCC has also been told to use Google maps to identify locations of such vacant plots,” said Bhure Lal, chairperson, EPCA.
Lal said burning of plastic and rubber waste produce fumes containing carcinogenic elements. “This leads to pollution and health hazards to those living around. The [municipal] corporations and the DPCC have been asked to improve waste management and not allow dumping at any cost. Also, use of unapproved fuels such as coal was observed in many areas and 16 such units have been sealed,” said Lal.
Also, the report highlighted that at Punjabi Bagh crematorium, pollution was observed during the peak Covid period in April, after which two more CNG furnaces were set up there. “The municipal corporation has informed that they are installing air pollutants control devices for wooden pyres,” the report stated.
A senior DPCC official, who did not wish to be named, said that a plan is being prepared to curb emissions at all hot spots. “We are in process of meeting all agencies to clear the hot spots. The plan will be implemented soon,” the official said.
A senior North corporation official, not wishing to be named, said waste is being lifted from all these areas. “At many places the dumps have been cleared and industrial associations have been asked to not let waste be dumped on roadsides or in vacant plots,” the official said.