• Delhi govt offers financial assistance to civic agencies for controlling air pollution
  • DPCC activates WhatsApp numbers to register complaints of open burning

Environment Minister Mr Imran Hussain on Tuesday reviewed the status of air quality in Delhi with nodal officers of implementing agencies/departments including Department of Revenue, PWD, Transport, three MCDs, NDMC, DDA, Delhi Cantonment Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Traffic Police.

The Minister reviewed action taken by various agencies/departments assigned with the responsibility of prohibition of burning in the open and prevention of dust at construction sites.

During the meeting, Officers of the Environment Department and DPCC informed that metrological conditions viz. low temperatures, low wind speed and high moisture are causing smog conditions in Delhi presently.  Mr Hussain observed that the local factors contributing to air pollution need to be controlled by all the concerned agencies/departments.

The Minister offered financial assistance from the Air Ambience Fund to Municipal Corporations, DDA etc., in case they approach Delhi Government with viable action plans for air pollution control.

Mr Hussain sought to know the action being taken by the Revenue Department as well as all the Municipal Corporations for preventing instances of burning in open.

Officers from Revenue Department informed that arrangements have been made for deputing two Civil Defence Volunteers exclusively in each of 33 sub-divisions in Delhi with SDM/Tehsildar Office for not only detecting  instances of open burning but for dousing fires immediately.  The Minister directed the Revenue Department to activate centralised help-line Number so that the citizens can report about instances of garbage/leaf burning.

The DPCC informed that it has already activated two WhatsApp numbers 9717593501 and 9717593574 for this purpose. All the concerned Departments/Agencies are already connected to these numbers. The Minister directed that all the concerned agencies need to take action on the complaints of burning in open and dust due to construction, forwarded by DPCC to them.

All the Commissioners of MCDs were advised through the Nodal Officers who attended the meeting to immediately address all the Safai Karamcharis and Gardeners (Malis) so that they could be encouraged to not only detect instances of fire but also desist from burning the waste/dry leaves. This would go a long way in instilling a sense of responsibility among the ground level workers for preventing burning in their respective areas.

Mr Hussain also directed Municipal Corporations to prevent stocking of building material along the roads and in open areas especially in unauthorized colonies as the building material is also one of the identified sources of air pollution in Delhi.

The Municipal Corporations were also directed to submit a report within seven days that no building material is lying stacked in open/along side roads in their respective area.

During the meeting, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) shared its experience of washing plantation including trees so that the dust collected on such plantations does not get re-suspended in air. The Municipal Corporations were asked to consider feasibility of similar washing of plantations in their areas.

Mr Hussain directed all the Municipal bodies to immediately bring out a public notice through the media asking the RWAs, institutions and large building owners etc., to provide electric heaters to their respective security staff so that the staff does not light fire by burning wood, dry leaves, waster material etc. for keeping them warm during winters.

The Minister asked the officers from DDA to increase vigil against burning instances especially along the river Yamuna Banks also called O- Zone.

PWD was also directed to remove extra soil which has been deposited while carrying out plantation on the central verges, on the PWD maintained roads. This extra soil gets dispersed on the roads while watering the plants which can also add to the suspended particulate matter in the air.

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