EDMC to face strict action for Ghazipur landfill fire: Rai
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said “strict action” will be initiated against the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) for its alleged apathy in preventing a fire that broke out at the Ghazipur landfill on Sunday.
Addressing the media, Rai said the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) inspected the landfill and prepared a detailed report that showed lapses on the part of the EDMC. “The report states the EDMC made no efforts or arrangements in preventing the fire. Strict action will be initiated against the civic body,” said Rai on Tuesday adding that such fires were responsible for deteriorating the pollution levels in the Capital.
A portion of the Ghazipur landfill in east Delhi caught fire around 5.30pm on Sunday, which lasted nearly for an hour. Seven fire tenders were rushed to the spot to douse the blaze. Officials from the Delhi Fire Service said toxic chemicals from the heap of waste aggravated the blaze and it took longer to douse the fire completely.
Nirmal Jain, mayor of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), who had inspected the site after the blaze had called the fire a “natural phenomenon.” The EDMC spokesperson did not respond to calls and messages requesting comment.
Meanwhile, while higher temperatures and improved wind speeds kept the air quality mostly in the moderate category last week, a dust storm caused the air pollution levels in the city to spike to the ‘poor’ category on Tuesday.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recordings showed that the overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi on Tuesday was 232. An AQI reading of 101-200 is considered to be moderate.
Rai said the DPCC has written to various agencies, asking them to monitor such sites, where chances of fires breaking out are higher due to rising temperatures.
“Delhi has been making efforts...Two organisations -- IQAir and the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)-- have acknowledged that air pollution levels in the city have reduced,” he said.
According to IQAir’s report, Delhi has succeeded in reducing pollution levels, especially PM2.5 levels, by 15%. A CSE report says PM2.5 levels in Delhi have reduced by 25% since 2014-15, said the minister.
IQAir is a Swiss group that measures air-quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging fine particles known as PM2.5. It is also a manufacturer of air purifiers.
“Delhi is the first state to shut down thermal power plants. We have identified pollution hotspots and taken specific action. All industrial units are now operating on piped natural gas. We are the first state to launch an electric vehicle policy,” said Rai, listing the steps taken by the government to curb pollution levels in Delhi.
“However, pollution in Gurgaon, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Bhiwadi, also affects Delhi,” he said.