While the Delhi government blamed crop burning in neighbouring states as a major reason for the smog, it overlooked a dangerous factor in its own backyard — the open burning of waste.
On November 3, the government wrote a letter to the Centre requesting it to take steps to control crop burning.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had earlier asked the government to ban the burning of waste in the open. Consequently, the government asked sub-divisional magistrates and tehsildars last week to levy a fine of Rs 5,000 on those burning dry leaves, waste material, plastic and rubber in the open. However, open burning of waste continues unhindered.
Interestingly, City Spidey found that many see this practice as the only way to dispose of garbage the municipal corporations fail to remove regularly.
Anil Kumar Pandey, an environmentalist and president of Federation of Vasundhara Enclave Co-Operative Group Housing Societies, said, “Mostly, reports of open burning of waste come from unauthorised colonies and slum areas, where MCDs do not remove garbage regularly. It can be seen in colonies and parks as well. The practice contributes significantly to the smog."
Farhad Suri, leader of opposition in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), says, "In SDMC areas, particularly in the north and the south divisions, open burning of waste is rampant."
Meanwhile, according to data released by municipal corporations on November 3, the North Corporation challaned 348 violators from April to August and the East Corporation 242 from April to October this year. The South Corporation challaned a collective 9,016 violators from October 2015 to October 2016.