Come summer, and one can spot piles of burnt and half-burnt leaves along the footpaths of Dwarka. Sometimes, the smoke billowing from the heaps stings the eyes. But this is a common summer practice in the sub-city, and it is posing a huge threat to its health and green cover.
The Metro line along Sector 10, the area around Bharat Vandana Park, the green stretch in Sector 17, societies in Sector 14 and Sector 9, the park in Sector 19 and Akshardham Apartments in Sector 8 are just few of the locations where this practice has taken a toll.
The smoke is affecting morning and evening walkers, often aggravating asthma and other breathing problems.
Rakesh Singh, a resident of Kargil Apartments, Sector 18, who goes for morning walks to the park in Sector 19, complains, “You can see the ashes and the smoke in the area. Heaps of burnt leaves can be seen along the footpath of Road No 5. Can you imagine how shocking it is for someone who goes to the park for fresh air and is instead greeted with toxic smoke?”
According to locals, dry leaves are being burnt mostly by the workers of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). SN Sharma, a resident of Sector 11, says, “The DDA prunes the plants in the neighbourhood and leaves the clipped bits on the road. These are then gathered into a heap and burnt along the roads.”
When confronted with the issue, DDA officials admitted that to avoid disposing of the leaves, the sweepers appointed for the task set them on fire.
“This is a serious issue and causes a lot of damage to the trees and plants of the suburb. I have been doing the rounds in Dwarka to stop this practice, and it has been brought under control in certain areas, but I would request the RWAs, the SDMC and the larger community to pitch in,” urged Prem Chandra, deputy director horticulture, DDA.
Director of press and information, SDMC, Mukesh Yadav, confirmed that the burning of dry leaves was banned. "I will ask the concerned officials to look into the matter, particularly in certain areas of Dwarka,” he added.
A pile of dry leaves being burnt on a footpath along a Dwarka road