Imposing a complete ban on burning of waste in the open including garbage, leaves, plastic and crop residues, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday said violators will be fined Rs.5,000.
A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar passed a slew of directions, including an order to the civic authorities and state governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to immediately spread mass awareness regarding ill-effects of burning waste materials in open areas.
“It is on record before us that burning of garbage and other materials is not only source of air pollution but forms 29.4 per cent of air pollution with reference to PM10. Burning of material also causes serious respiratory problems and is even carcinogenic… There shall be complete prohibition on burning of any kind of garbage, leaves, waste, plastic, rubber or any such other materials in open areas in NCR-Delhi,” the Bench said.
PM or particulate matter refers to all solid and liquid particles suspended in air, many of which are hazardous. They are differentiated according to their size. Elaborating on the process for filing complaints, the Bench said any person who notices burning of such material would have a right to complain in writing or otherwise to SHO of concerned area, concerned municipal corporation, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and to the heads of the concerned departments. The Tribunal directed all the municipal corporations to notify within two days from Tuesday the mobile number- 9717593474 – on which such complaints can be made.
“We direct that for every incident of burning of such material, the person who is found burning or responsible for burning would be liable to pay compensation in terms of Section 15 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 under the principle of polluter pays,” the Bench said, adding that the money collected would be used for restoration of environment.
The Tribunal also came down heavily on the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) over its failure to check waste-burning in Lodhi Gardens.
Taking note of burning of nearly one tonne of dry leaves, the Bench said, “It is very unfortunate that you escape from your responsibilities. We don’t want your officials to cook up stories. Why will a passer-by burn leaves?”
The Tribunal stopped short of imposing a fine of Rs.50,000 on the officers of the municipal body.