With gradual rise in pollution levels over the last few days in the National Capital Region, Gurugram residents have demanded that a ban on open burning of waste be strictly enforced to prevent situation from getting worse, especially in view of the pandemic.
The residents including volunteers of Citizens for Clean Air, a citizens’ collective, have been spotting and reporting waste burning at many open dumping sites as well as at small spots in and around neighbourhoods. They have been actively calling up their respective councillors as well as the administration to put a stop to this harmful practice.
The residents said given the pandemic situation and COVID-19 attacking the respiratory system, there is a need to stop local sources of pollution particles from entering their breathing zone.
Demanding that the administration and the government prioritise public health and stop waste burning, Ruchika Sethi, a member of Citizens for Clean Air, in a post on the Facebook page of the group wrote: “Despite many protests by the citizen’s collective, Citizens for Clean Air in 2016, 2017 and 2019; a signature campaign signed by 25,000 residents; several representations and meetings with the administration, MP Rao Inderjit Singh, Principal Secretary and a letter to the Chief Minister, none of the solutions for scientific Solid Waste Management have been implemented. Residents are now frustrated and unhappy with the lack of response. They say if the Government can impose such strict measures for the Covid 19 pandemic, surely it can stop a harmful practice like waste burning [sic].”
The group, in a tweet, said that challans and FIRs were not the solutions since waste burning was not sporadic, but a rampant practice. It said there was a need for a scientific de-centralised solid waste management mechanism to effectively deal with the menace.