51 polluting factories employing children shut in Karawal Nagar
NEW DELHI: The state government’s disaster management team stumbled upon 51 illegal factories, mostly almond shelling units, while tracing the source of dust pollution in a residential area in an east Delhi neighbourhood. The additional district magistrate, northeast, MK Dwivedi, ordered the factories to be sealed.
There were over 1,000 labourers, including children, working in the 51 units. According to a disaster management report, most factories were ‘discharging nanoparticles, which were affecting the lives of residents’.
Last week, when Delhi’s air quality reached the severe level, some residents of Karawal Nagar approached the district administration about dust in their area. The pollution levels in east and northeastern parts of Delhi are usually on the higher side compared to the other parts of the city. Areas around Karawal Nagar, such Anand Vihar and Delhi- Ghaziabad border, are the most polluted in terms of the Air Quality Index. The residents would have ignored the dust but were suddenly conscious after news reports of Delhi’s foul air and realised the unusual pollution in their area. It was then that the District Disaster Management Authority inspected the area and found the factories.
The DDMA report filed by a project officer stated that the labourers working in the 51 units were removing tonnes and tonnes of dry fruit shells, causing its dust to disperse in the air. The report also stated that the other factories manufacturing iron pipes, speakers, cardboards and acid were using diesel-filled generator sets, which are highly polluting and temporarily banned under the Graded Response Action Plan.
ADM Dwivedi said, “We have ordered the sealing of these factories under section 133 of the CRPC, which authorises the district magistrate to remove or stop any activity that causes public nuisance. We have written to the municipal corporation asking for a compliance report about the sealing of factories. Our officers who conducted the raid had problems breathing inside the factory.”
The officer said that because of the dust, most residents in the area had respiratory problems. “Our team raided the factories and saw that women and children were working in hazardous conditions.The kids were made to hide in sacks of almond shells, when our teams raided the units.”
Officials said that different teams in northeast Delhi are conducting surveys on illegal factories to keep a check on pollution.
n There were over 1,000 labourers, including children, working in the 51 units.