Sur­veil­lance curbs waste burn­ing in pol­lu­tion hotspots of Narela, Bawana

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO - HT Cor­re­spon­dent htre­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Two earth mov­ing ma­chines and a dump trailer fit­ted to a trac­tor were parked near a cleaned up va­cant plot of land in the heart of Bawana in­dus­trial area. Barely three months ago, the area wore a dif­fer­ent look al­to­gether.

When HT vis­ited the spot in Oc­to­ber, the plot was heaped with waste from nearby fac­to­ries. Back then sig­na­tures of open waste burn­ing was ev­i­dent with smell of burn­ing rub­ber and plas­tic fill­ing up the air and black ashes scat­tered around.

Three months down the line the in­dus­trial zones of Narela and Bawana, which had hit the head­lines in Oc­to­ber 2018 for ram­pant dump­ing and burn­ing of rub­ber and plas­tic, has un­der­gone a sea change.

“Thou­sands of tonnes of rub­ber and plas­tic waste, which were sup­posed to be burnt in the open, have been re­moved. This has led to a sig­nif­i­cant drop in waste burn­ing. Night pa­trolling has also started,” said Bhure Lal, chair­man of Supreme Court ap­pointed, En­vi­ron­ment Pol­lu­tion (Pre­ven­tion and Con­trol) Au­thor­ity.

More than 90,000 tonnes of plas­tic and rub­ber waste were re­ceived by the waste-to-en­ergy plant at Narela-bawana be­tween Oc­to­ber and De­cem­ber 2018, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior of­fi­cial of the North Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion. While the old waste that was ear­lier dumped has been re­moved, waste gen­er­ated daily is be­ing col­lected and sent to the plant by the DSIIDC. Ear­lier, they were dumped in va­cant plots and later burnt. Vig­i­lance has been stepped up so that waste is not dumped.

“Mar­shals of the en­vi­ron­ment depart­ment and north civic body have been pa­trolling the ar­eas at night. Waste burn­ing used to go on par­tic­u­larly at night. Sign boards, urg­ing peo­ple not to dump waste in the open have also been put up at sev­eral such va­cant plots,” said BM Mishra, ad­di­tional com­mis­sioner of North Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion.

Se­nior of­fi­cials from the Bawana fire sta­tion at Sec­tor 4, which caters to the in­dus­trial area, said in­ci­dents of waste burn­ing have dropped by more than 50% in the last three months.

“The num­ber of fire in­ci­dents re­ported have, how­ever, gone up in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber be­cause pa­trolling teams are al­ways on the ground and they re­port even the small fires,” said a fire of­fi­cial in Bawana.

While on one hand EPCA had been build­ing pres­sure by reg­u­lar vis­its to the area, the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal (NGT) had in De­cem­ber 2018 im­posed a penalty of Rs 25 crore on the Delhi gov­ern­ment for fail­ing to curb pol­lu­tion in Narela – Bawana.

“At least 30 fac­to­ries, which were dump­ing waste, were sealed and slapped with penal­ties of Rs 50,000 each. They were later de-sealed. Au­thor­i­ties have also can­celled the al­lot­ment of plots which were ly­ing va­cant. Many have al­ready started con­struc­tion so that no va­cant plots re­main where waste could be dumped,” said Ra­jeev Ku­mar, pres­i­dent of the Bawana Man­u­fac­tur­ers Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion.

But de­spite all these mea­sures the two in­dus­trial zones con­tinue to fig­ure in the list of pol­lu­tion hotspots of the na­tional cap­i­tal.

“In­dus­tries are still one of the ma­jor sources of pol­lu­tion in Delhi after trans­port. Of the 2,000 odd in­dus­trial ar­eas in Delhi, around 50% have shifted to piped nat­u­ral gas for fuel re­quire­ments. But many in­dus­tries are still us­ing coal and of­ten burn plas­tic and rub­ber as fuel to bring down costs. Some have al­ready been shut down,” said a se­nior of­fi­cial of the en­vi­ron­ment depart­ment.

SANCHIT KHANNA/HT FILE

In Oc­to­ber,the plot was heaped with waste and of­ten set on fire by lo­cal peo­ple.

HT PHOTO

Mea­sures to con­trol waste dump­ing seems to have worked.

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