Open waste burning behind Delhi pollution rise: Report

Representative image. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi continues to be shrouded in a toxic haze because of the rampant burning of garbage and small fires lit by people to warm themselves in winter, according to a report by Hindustan Times.

On Thursday, the state's air quality index crossed 400 on a scale of 500, indicative of "severe" conditions that pose a health risk for people and can seriously impact those suffering from some illness. The state is breathing toxic air even as the season of crop stubble burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana is over. 

A total of 2,900 complaints of pollution norm violations were recorded between October 7 and November 21 this year. Out of these, 966 complaints comprised cases of garbage burning and open dumping of waste, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

Nearly 16.7% of waste burning cases were reported from North Delhi. It was followed by the northwest district that contributed 12.69% complaints and northeast Delhi where 7.10% of the total garbage burning cases were registered.

Over the last two weeks, the burning of garbage has become a major source of pollution in the city, according to senior officials. "The problem is by the time we get a complaint and reach the spot to douse the fire, most of the damage has already been done. Even while acting real-time, checking fires is difficult," an official on the east Delhi pollution monitoring team told the publication.

According to the report, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) chairperson, Bhure Lal said that enforcement agencies have been given strict instruction that action needs to be stepped up to check cases of open fires, especially in the 13 pollution hot spots identified by the Delhi government.
 

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