Gurugram residents use social media to report Grap violationsUpdated: Oct 23, 2019 21:18 IST
Gurugram Over the last 10 days, Gurugram’s residents have reported at least 25 violations of the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) to the district authorities, since the Grap came into effect. Social media groups created by residents have been buzzing with photos of violations of environmental norms from across the city.
Various residents’ groups said that they were fed up with rampant pollution and a lack of checks, due to which they have started looking for violations and are posting photos of the same on social media.
Last week, a resident tweeted photos of a large fire near Fazilpur Jharsa village in Sector 71. The post was shared on social media groups, such as the ‘Citizens for clean air’, and prompted authorities to take action, including dousing the fire and sending notices to establishments that were dumping waste and causing dust pollution.
However, residents said the action taken by authorities is temporary and doesn’t stop the violations. They said more active monitoring is needed in the city to make sure violations are not repeated.
Residents reported instances of garbage burning near Sector 70 and Vatika Chowk, besides waste dumping near Sector 56/57 and Sector 66. They have also reported dust pollution from various stretches in the city.
Officials of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) said that they receive such complaints from residents on a daily basis, which helps them monitor these areas.
Ajay Nayar, a resident of Sector 55, is among the residents who is tracking instances of garbage burning, dumping and other polluting activities. He sets out every day at regular intervals to check for such violations of the Grap. “Photos of the violations serve as records for authorities to take action, but there has been inadequate response and action from them,” Nayar said.
Aman Chawla, who works in Udyog Vihar, said he has flagged several violations on his way to work to the officials, but to no avail.
One such resident has also used drone cameras to document garbage dumping on a vacant plot. Kush Kochgaway, a Sector 66 resident, said he wanted to document the scale of garbage dumping on an empty plot nearby and borrowed a drone to shoot the video. “The video has been sent to the National Green Tribunal and to district authorities. It’s mostly construction waste being dumped there and emits harmful pollutants,” he said.
Ruchika Sethi, a resident of Sector 50, said that citizens having to surveil means that implementation of measures to check pollution is weak. “By noting and reporting these violations, residents are not only bringing authorities to action, but also showing that such citizens’ groups can make a large impact,” she said, adding that authorities need to find permanent solutions to eliminate these violations.
Sethi said she will be writing to the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (Epca) and the chief secretary, Haryana, about the violations residents have reported in the last few days, specifying the location, description of the material being burnt/dumped and the number of families prone to health problems around the area as a result. “We residents want to help the authorities spot violations for better pollution control,” she said.
Officials of the HSPCB said they have been noting the violations reported by residents along with those reported by their teams on the ground. “Most of the violations are being reported by citizens, which is encouraging,” said Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, HSPCB.
He added that waste burning and dumping are rampant in the city, and the number of teams on the ground deployed by the body is not enough to check the whole district.
Amit Khatri, deputy commissioner and the head of the municipal corporation, didn’t respond for comment.
The Grap was implemented across the National Capital Region on October 15 to check and prevent pollution from reaching detrimental level. It lists out steps to be taken by authorities when the air quality worsens.
MERCURY DIPS, AQI ‘MODERATE’
The maximum temperature on Wednesday was recorded at 31.4 degrees Celsius, an increase of a degree from Tuesday. The minimum temperature on Wednesday fell to 15.6 degrees Celsius from 16.4 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
According to meteorologists, the minimum temperature to likely to fall to 14 degrees Celsius the next week. The day temperature is also likely to fall to around 29 degrees Celsius, they said.
The city recorded a reading of 195 (moderate) on the air quality index on Wednesday. The air is set to worsen to ‘poor’ level on Thursday, said experts.