Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai held a meeting with Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), NGOs and eco-club teachers of schools and colleges in the city to address the government’s pollution control measures.
The Department of Environment of the Delhi government on Thursday delivered new guidelines for encouraging public participation towards pollution control ahead of winter. The guidelines are not only directed at cutting down the pollution at its source but also decreasing the indoor sources of pollution in Delhi such as open burning of waste. With fortnightly forecasting of AQI (PM 2.5) is predicted to be 80 from October 1 – October 15, moving to a spike to 158 between October 16 – October 31 and eventually to a spike crossing 250 between November 1- November 15. This data was based on the air pollution levels in the last five years
Environment minister Gopal Rai said, “As Delhi sees a rise of pollution during winters, all studies till now point towards two reasons for this. The first reason is the pollution produced from within Delhi, which includes vehicle pollution, dust pollution, biomass burning, which causes the pollution. The second reason is the pollution which comes from outside. Today, we had a discussion with Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), eco-clubs and various environmental organisations and apprised them of the steps being taken by the government to tackle the pollution that has already been produced. But that pollution is being produced by us, the people of Delhi. The government therefore is trying to make controlling pollution on an individual level a people’s movement,” said Rai.
A fine of Rs. 5000 can be imposed for open burning, said a press note by the government. Open burning includes burning garbage, waste plastic, leaves, rubber, self-moulding compound or any other such material. Moreover, the residential welfare associations and individual house owners were asked to consider providing electric heaters etc. to security guards and labourers during winters to avoid open burning by them.
Delhi government also launched a noise pollution helpline number (155271) along with a web address (https:ngms.delhi.gov.in/) and has imposed a complete ban on the sale, storage and bursting of all kinds of firecrackers in Delhi.
Other guidelines by the government included a fine of Rs. 5000 on dumping of construction and other waste material in public spaces. “Fine of Rs. 5000 for each violation of open carriage and transportation of construction debris through trucks or other vehicles,” said a press release by the Delhi government.
The Delhi government also encouraged the adoption of 14 dust mitigation measures at construction and demolition sites which are provided on Delhi government website. Another fine that the government directed is on dumping construction material into Yamuna river, of Rs. 5000.
Focussing on increasing greenery by planting saplings which are also available free of cost in government nurseries. It also stated the progress of ‘Green Delhi App’ which was launched October 2020 stating that more than 27,000 complaints have been received on the app and 93% of them have been resolved.
Stressing on the need to encourage sustainable practices and a conscious lifestyle, Rai commented that people should be encouraged to use methods such as carpooling to decrease pollution at an individual level. He said that the ‘Red light on, Gaadi off’ campaign by the Delhi government has gained popularity with people suggesting that it continues.
Ending the meeting, he parted ways with a solution to work together, “The government is trying to work with a two-line action. The first is to stop the pollution that we produce. Stop the pollution at the source. The second is how to control which has already been produced? Now, the pollution being done by people of Delhi by their own hands, to control that, we need collective action. Until they are not aware, we cannot ensure collective action. So that’s why today we have made a beginning in that direction. Today, we have spoken with stakeholders and representatives and we will take this to the people, so that they can be made aware of the types of pollution they are not only experiencing but are also actively causing. We need to bring behavioural change and together we can find a solution.”