Burn waste, pay Rs 5,000 fine: NGT
The bench noted that “it is on record” that while burning of garbage and other waste was not the only source of pollution, it accounted for “29.4% of air pollution, with regard to PM 10”.
In yet another bid to check air pollution in Delhi and the rest of the NCR, National Green Tribunal recently banned burning of waste in the open.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed authorities in Delhi and NCR to impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on anyone caught burning waste — garbage, leaves, plastic, rubber or other items — in open areas.
NGT said Deputy Commissioners, Director of Horticulture, Area SHOs, Assistant Commissioners and Sanitary Officers of the area would be held responsible if there was any violation of its order.
The bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said all authorities are duty bound to oblige with the tribunal's orders. "We make it clear that the orders of the NGT are to be complied with as a decree or order of the civil court," the order said.
The bench noted that “it is on record” that while burning of garbage and other waste was not the only source of pollution, it accounted for “29.4% of air pollution, with regard to PM 10”. It also noted that burning of waste emitted pollutants, some of which were even carcinogenic.
It had data to support the view that waste burning is responsible for a major portion of emissions in the city. Nearly 29.4% of the total PM10 (coarse, pollution particles) are from waste burning, the bench said.
"Its contribution in terms of PM2.5 is not placed before us, despite our earlier orders. Burning trash in the open area produces many pollutants, including dioxins, particulate pollution, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), hexachlorobenzene—ash and fumes released from such burning can be carcinogenic," the bench noted.
It added that there was a need to issue prohibitory orders and “imposition of fine and heavy compensation” on those who for “short gains avoid hard work required of them in discharge of their duties and allow burning of garbage”.
The Central government approached the NGT with a plea seeking a “reasonable time of six months for suggesting measures for addressing pollution concerns”, in reference to the Tribunal’s previous order banning 10-year-old diesel vehicles and 15-year-old petrol vehicles. The NGT is expected to hear issues related to vehicular pollution on the next date of hearing.
In addition, the NGT asked the Delhi government to take a decision regarding new landfill sites “as soon as possible” and not later than three weeks. It also directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to conduct an inspection of air quality around all thermal power plants in Delhi and NCR within two weeks and submit a report to the bench. The NGT also inquired about the “extent of fly ash” used in brick kilns, while directing authorities to submit a report to check whether brick kilns “operating in NCR have the consent of Boards and are adhering to the prescribed emission norms”.
While reiterating its previous order on prohibition on burning of waste in open areas, it added that “any person who notices burning of any material” will have the right to register a complaint with the station house officer, civic corporations, DPCC or other local authorities.
The NGT directed authorities that for every incident of burning of these material, the person who is found burning such material and/or responsible for/or abating such burning would be liable to pay compensation in terms of the Section 15 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. He/she will be liable to pay a sum Rs 5,000, instantaneously.
This money would be maintained by corporations and authorities as a “separate fund to be utilised for improvement, restoration, restitution of the environmental degradation resulting from such activity,” it said.
The bench also directed corporations to provide area-wise composting pits within one week so that there is proper disposal of organic waste. It directed DDA and Delhi government to provide alternative landfill sites within three weeks as the three landfills are already saturated.
Following an NGT order, DPCC had recently provided a complaint page on a social networking site and a WhatsApp number but lawyers claimed it was not being used widely.
The green bench directed all corporations to notify “within two days” numbers, websites or any other process through which complaints can be made.