In the aftermath of Diwali and river effluent discharge from across the border recently, United Residents Joint Action (URJA), the apex body of 2500 Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in Delhi, expressed it’s concern over alarming levels of pollution in Delhi's atmosphere and also in Yamuna river. According to URJA, the government and the civic agencies failed in getting a solution to the problems of pollution in the National Capital.
URJA said that despite the guarantee of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in 2020 elections to reduce pollution by 2/3rd, there is no assuring progress being made on the ground. As per URJA, as is evident from pollution due to Diwali crackers sold even though there are strict orders from the Supreme Court and GNCTD itself.
On the other hand, URJA said that the condition of Yamuna river is also highly compromised with the government’s negligence to check industrial affluent release to the river water without carrying with the industrial waste water release norms .
In a press release shared by the president of URJA, Atul Goel, it is mentioned, “In the absence of any blueprint ( targeted time line) to control reduction of water pollutants in river by State pollution Control board each respective year Delhi witness increase of froth in the river during the festival season and the peak winter days.”
Further, the release says, “The response from the GNCTD is the same as every year – to launch campaigns of banning open burning of garbage, forming anti-dust squads, and shifting the blame to pollution coming from outside Delhi’s borders. The implementation agencies do not share with transparency how their efforts before winter season this year and in previous years have helped control pollution. No physical data available with nodal officers responsible under GRAP/CAP in public domain that supports claims by govt. from time to time.”
According to URJA, the government at the centre as well is responsible for coordination with other states such as UP, Punjab and Haryana from where pollution travels to Delhi, have also just formed new programs and commissions that are yet to deliver results.
As mentioned in the release, “The citizens of Delhi remain on their own relying on temporary and expensive solutions such as air purifiers and masks. Their calls to governments to take decisive action is often paid heed to with lip service and big announcements such as GNCTD’s Yudh Pradushan ke Virudh, which have only attempted to generate awareness amongst Delhiites. Summer months are the time when institutional, budgetary and multi-agency coordination arrangements are to be made to tackle priority sources of pollution. Instead, every year when winter arrives and pollution has already set in, governments scramble to find quick fix methods. The 5-point plan recently announced to be a game changer by the Delhi Environment Minister lacks details of how they will be rigorously implement and why they were not implemented in pre-winter months."
President of URJA, Atul Goyal, who is also a member of Supreme Court Committee on solid waste management, says, “The piecemeal approach of the Delhi government does not inspire confidence to bring any sustainable corrections to city's Air Quality Index. There is an urgent need to conceive a roadmap to achieve the guarantee given by the CM. Till date the government has taken a top-down approach excluding citizen’s participation and that state government shall come out with a detailed roadmap to achieve the pollution guarantee - 2/3 by 2025”.
Rajesh Aggarwal, RWA member of Shahdra says that correct information prompted with solutions implementation is the key to gain success.
Madhavi Sachhar, RWA member of New Friends Colony around Okhla Hotspot says, “Unless concentrated efforts are made by the state authorities to reduce pollutants level around the hotspots within a fixed timeline, pollution levels won’t correct and citizen will be unable to witness more clean air days”
H C Gupta, RWA member of Ashok Vihar around wazirpur hotspot says, “The disposal of industrial waste burning contributes immensely to the level of increased pollution, a strict third party monitoring and action on defaulters is the need of the hour.”
Sanjay Sharma, an RWA member of Rohini says, “The dust is the main culprit that contributes to increased pollution level, a more stringent enfored norms and penal actions is required.”
Suresh Goel, RWA member of Vasant Vihar near RK Puram hotspot says, "The roadside burning in and around the slums is the main cause of concern, the violators do not understand the language of request.”
Jasbir Chaddha, RWA member East of Kailash says, "There is a need to make the accountability of elected representatives towards their constituency visible and pressurising the authorities to share a plan of actions well in advance in public domain is much required.”