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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

EPCA orders night patrolling, sealing of polluting units

cities Updated: Sep 27, 2019 21:48 IST


New Delhi

With winter approaching and pollution levels likely to spike, chairperson of Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (prevention and control) Authority (EPCA) Bhure Lal on Friday directed Delhi government to control pollution sources in identified hotspots in the city.

Bhure Lal also stressed on night patrolling at hotspots and directed the sealing of industrial units that are still using dirty and unapproved fuels.

The EPCA chief, in a meeting with all stakeholders presided by Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev, told the agencies to take action in different zones — North, South, East, West and Yamuna Pushta — depending on sources of pollution, including fumes from illegal industries, dumping and burning of hazardous waste, among others.

In East Delhi, one of the major concerns is the number of illegal industries that burn copper and electrical wires to extract metals, Lal said.

“These industries are functioning amidst the residential area and fumes from burning of copper and electric wires using furnace oil, which is banned in Delhi-NCR, contributes majorly to air pollution. The burning of these metals usually takes place between 8pm and 4am, which is also the time when pollutant levels go up,” said Lal.

Apart from this, in areas such as Seemapuri, Gandhi Nagar, Bhajanpura, Dallupura and Usmanpur, a number of units engage in welding work in the open which adds to the pollution, he said.

He also asked them to set up special teams to check dumping and burning of plastic and rubber waste by industries operating in North and West Delhi areas, including Mundka, Narela, Bawana, Ghevra, Tikri and Hiran Kudna, among others.

“Fumes from burning of plastic and rubber waste are carcinogenic. The smoke from burning of these materials is cancerous. Industries cannot be allowed to burn waste in the open. The penalty will be doubled in case the offence is repeated. These fumes are way more harmful than the smoke from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana,” said Lal.

The chief secretary has asked the departments to constitute night patrolling teams at the soonest and step up vigil in such areas.

In South Delhi’s Kishangarh and Masoodpur, incidents of ragpickers setting fire to garbage have come to notice. “There is a high concentration of ragpickers in these areas, who set fire to waste that they cannot sell or use. We have asked civic bodies to crackdown,” said Lal.

Also, incidents of burning waste in the ‘O-Zone’ of Yamuna by industries have emerged as a concern. “Special attention will be paid to the zone near the Yamuna where chemical industries burn their toxic waste. One can always see fire raging near DND, because of burning of waste. We have directed agencies to step up surveillance in unauthorised colonies, JJ clusters and vacant plots where mounds of garbage are burnt. Owners of the vacant plots will be asked to construct boundaries to help check such incident,” EPCA chief said.

The chief secratry has asked departments to seal such units and prosecute the owners.

First Published: Sep 27, 2019 21:48 IST

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