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AQI rises 100 points in a day as cases of open waste burning increase

Wednesday’s AQI touched 322, up by over 100 points from Tuesday’s 228, entering ‘very poor’ category

gurgaon Updated: Dec 20, 2017 23:47 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
MCG,open burning,poor air quality
Waste being burnt near the Airtel office at Udyog Vihar in Gurgaon, on Wednesday. The Gurgaon authorities had banned open burning of waste in 2015. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

As winter progresses and the chill peaks, cases of open burning of waste have risen in the city. This in spite of there being a ban on it. To make matters worse, city’s air quality index (AQI) value shot by over a 100 points within a day.

The AQI entered the ‘very poor’ category at 322 on Wednesday, from Tuesday’s ‘poor’ AQI of 228. There has been a steady and steep decline in the quality of city’s air since December 17, when the air was ‘moderately polluted’ at AQI 146—lowest since November 1.

Gurgaon, among other regions of National Capital Region, suffered a spell of extreme air pollution in the first fortnight of November. The city AQI became its most ‘severe’ at 494 on November 9, forcing governments to introduce extreme measures to check air pollution in the region. One among these measures was directing RWAs to ensure they provide their security staff with heaters to keep them from burning waste to keep warm.

The measure was announced even though the Gurgaon authorities had banned open burning of waste on March 10, 2015, said MCG officials. Last year in Novemember, the National Green Tribunal had banned open burning of waste across all states and Union territories last year.

Despite this, the Municipal Corporation Gurugram (MCG) has fined 111 people this year—with 50 just this month—for burning garbage in the open. This is twice as many people fined for the violations since last year when the figure was 52.

On Wednesday, open burning of garbage was noticed along the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway in the Udyog Vihar area.

As per the data available with the MCG, on an average, 12 cases of open waste burning are reported in the city.

“Our teams are monitoring the city, but we face a tough time getting hold of the people involved in burning waste. Open burning is not allowed in the city at all,” MCG senior town planner Sudhir Chauhan said.

The areas from where most cases of open waste burning are reported include Udyog Vihar, sectors 56, 30, 69, 47 and the Basai village area, MCG officials said quoting data available.

Meanwhile, a dip in temperature has made matters worse. Wednesday recorded a night time temperature of 9.7° Celsius.

“We are trying to make people aware of the ill-effects of burning waste in the open. We need to do it tactfully,” regional officer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board, JB Sharma said.

First Published: Dec 20, 2017 23:47 IST