No central helpline number in Gurugram for reporting complaints of air pollution
Authorities in Gurugram are yet to come up with a centralised helpline number, where residents can lodge complaints of sources contributing to air pollution, even though almost a month has passed since the district administration issued the first set of directions to nearly 40 agencies to combat air pollution in the district ahead of winter.
Officials from Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) said the air quality monitoring control room could not be set up as contractual workers cannot be hired, according to an order issued by the state government in September.
S Narayanan, member secretary of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board, said, “In the last week of September, the state government issued an order stating that no outsourced workers can be hired, due to which the process of setting up the air quality monitoring control room has been delayed. We are in touch with the officials concerned and taking up the matter on priority. The control room should be functional by the first week of November, when it is being predicted that the air quality in the National Capital Region is likely to drop to very poor category.”
The control room usually has five members, including a supervisor, who monitor activities such as dust control measures, sprinkling of water, open waste burning and local sources of pollution.
Officials from Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) said no helpline number has been released but the air lab for monitoring local sources of pollution have been set up at Sector 42.
Subash Yadav, nodal officer for urban environment at MCG said, “As part of implementing the measures listed in the graded response action plan (Grap) on October 15, the air lab was set up in Sector 42. We have been monitoring local sources of pollution and all departments have been directed to take measures to prevent deterioration of air quality. We are also in the process of issuing challans to violators. No helpline numbers have been issued but we learn about violations from residents and take action accordingly.”
Meanwhile, residents said that in the past few days, waste burning has increased in the city, with such instances coming to the fore on a daily basis. This week, waste burning incidents have been reported from Sector 62 and Sector 57 among other areas.
Ruchika Sethi, a member of Citizens for Clean Air, a city-based group, said, “At this point, someone from the enforcement agencies should start taking accountability as waste burning is not a sporadic issue anymore but rather rampant. It has become a conventional practice of managing waste and is not considered a risk to health. Air pollution itself is not considered as a risk to human health and environmental safety. While we appreciate a quick response system to waste fires and night time patrolling, we need preventive action here, as once waste is burnt, the toxic emissions are already in our breathing system.”