Pollution control board sets up teams to check open waste burning
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) on Monday formed two teams to check waste burning in the city. Burning of waste in the open has often been blamed for rising air pollution levels in Gurgaon and the move is aimed at curbing the practice.
The move is of significance at a time when the city’s air quality index (AQI) has registered a sudden upward shift. The air quality index shot up to 315 on Tuesday, a significant increase from Monday’s reading of 243.
Following up on its pledge to crack down on the practice, officials of Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) have been conducting searches to curb burning of waste in the open. However, owing to the increase in the number of complaints, the pollution department, too, has stepped in. The department said it received as many as 10 such complaints over the last three days.
The step was initiated after the pollution department received a number of complaints regarding waste burning in the city. The team has been authorised to impose a fine of up to ₹5,000 on anyone found burning garbage in the open.
“We have received complaints on waste burning from sectors 31, 22, 23, Golf Course Extension Road and other areas of the city. It is one of the major contributing factors to the deteriorating air quality of the city,” JB Sharma, regional officer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).
The two teams will be monitoring the city’s green spaces which are often found littered with horticulture waste. In their complaint to the pollution department, the residents claimed that the horticulture waste is set on fire after being dumped.
According to data released by the HSPCB, open burning of solid waste releases pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) and dioxins or furans, which amps up air pollution levels.
Residents claimed they have trouble breathing due to the rise in the level of pollutants in the air.
“We have even stopped going out for morning and evening walks. It is difficult to breathe clean air these days,” Komal Narang, a resident of Sector 50, said.
Vandana Kalra, a resident of South City 1, said, “We are inhaling smoke. While the city’s air is turning more toxic by the day, some people continue to set fire to horticulture waste in green spaces. Despite awareness campaigns, the practice continues unabated. This is a major concern.”
The air quality index is an indicator of air pollution from three major pollutants — NO2, PM 10 and PM 2.5. The index rates the air quality as ‘good’ if the reading is in the range of 0-100, ‘moderate’ if in the range of 101-200 and poor for ‘201-300’.
The index for individual pollutants at a monitoring location is calculated as per its 24-hour average concentration value (8-hour cycle in case of CO and Ozone) and health breakpoint concentration range.
All pollutants cannot be monitored at all locations. Overall AQI is calculated only if data of a minimum of three pollutants is available.