Better Waste Management Can Reduce Air Pollution Load During Winter In Delhi | Latest India News


New Delhi: Responsible communities, strict enforcement and more efficient municipal waste collection. Experts say these are among the measures that may lead to improving Delhi’s problematic air quality by limiting the open-pit burning of municipal solid waste across the city. The nation’s shortcomings in its garbage collection and the pollution crisis are intrinsically linked, and the connection becomes much more visible as temperatures drop and wind speeds slow.

Delhi generates more than 11,144 tons of municipal waste every day and several studies estimate that between 2 and 3% of the waste is burned in the open, adding particles, sulfur and nitrogen oxides among other pollutants. in the air of Delhi. A senior municipal official from the MCD North said that cases of waste burning increase dramatically during winters, as people use various components of household waste to start small fires for warmth.


While the Delhi Economic Survey claims that 100% of household waste is collected, garbage collection in several unplanned low-income housing areas is still quite low, resulting in garbage littering the roads and plots. empty. The magnitude of the problem can also be measured by the fact that, as air quality in Delhi begins to plummet after Diwali, more than 250 municipal teams are tasked with patrolling at night to watch out for burning garbage piles.

The mayor of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, Shyam Sunder Aggarwal, said a team for “day and night patrols” had been dispatched to the 64 wards to monitor the garbage burning incidents. “Each team is made up of four members of the sanitation, health, horticultural and maintenance departments. The company imposed fines worth ??12.64 crore since 2018, ”said the mayor.

Delhi-based waste management expert Swati Singh Sambyal says instead of increasing penalties, strict monitoring and enforcement is needed to tackle waste burning. “We need to empower RWAs, companies and have oversight committees at the local level to ensure that waste combustion is controlled. Social engineering is the key. There have been interventions in Delhi that have been intermittent, but what we need is continued awareness that leads to behavior change. It also means engaging with different stakeholders – RWA groups, voluntary organizations, NGOs. The goals should be to minimize waste and ensure efficient collection. Less waste, less risk of plastics and sheets being burned, ”Sambyal said.


A report on “Fixing Delhi’s Pollution” by the Indicus Foundation also argues that empowering and rewarding communities while empowering them is perhaps the most powerful mechanism to tackle pollution caused by burning garbage at the neighborhood level. Atul Goel, president of United Residents Joint Action (URJA) – a collective body of AAR, said AARs and citizens’ groups must be empowered for lasting change to take place. “We are back to square one after each pollution season. URJA advocated for local planning groups or safai nigrani samitis where citizens’ representatives and officials can come on the same platform. We must systematically improve road sweeping and cleaning at household and street level. A simple lack of a wheelbarrow to lift the garbage to street level will cause the pile to burn, ”he added.

While the burning of waste in Delhi is banned with the imposition of heavy fines imposed by the NGT, the burning of waste is a normal occurrence during winters and its impact is often overlooked by residents, ironically those most affected by its effects. . From the high chloride content in PM10 particles from burning plastics and PVC products to polychlorinated biphenyls from contaminated oils, burning household waste adds several toxins to the air we breathe. In an in-depth study of the city’s air pollution sources, researchers at IIT Kanpur estimated that daily emissions from burning garbage contribute around 1968 kg per day of PM 10, 1771 kg of PM2.5 , 738 kg of nitrogen oxides, 123 kg of sulfur dioxide and 10,332 kg of carbon monoxide which is released when the garbage is left to slowly smolder for a long period of time. The IIT study said: “Any form of garbage burning should be strictly stopped and monitored to ensure compliance. This will require the development of infrastructure, including access to remote and congested areas, for efficient MSW collection and disposal in landfills.


Garbage collection must be supported by the effective implementation of sanctions and challans. Data from the three municipal companies show that although challan rates are high, the companies have a terribly low recovery rate from plastic waste / combustion and NGT air pollution challans. The recovery rates over the last 4 years remain systematically below 20%. Between October 16 and December 14, 2021, the MCD South issued open-air burning garbage challans worth Rs 89.8 lakh, but only ??2.66 lakh were recovered. Likewise, during the past year, the North Corporation issued 816 challans with penalties worth ??40.4 Lakh in the violations related to the dumping / burning of garbage, but the civic body was only able to recover Rs 1.6 lakh from the violators. A senior official at DEMS (Department of Environmental Management Services) northern company said the company is considering filing FIRs with the help of sub-divisional magistrates in order to increase the recovery rate. “We will have to take the harshest measure of prosecution and FIRs, otherwise no one will take these fines seriously,” the official noted.

Atul Garg, director of the Delhi fire service, said the winter season is particularly difficult as the service receives 25 to 30 garbage fire-related calls each day with a special team deployed to handle the combustion-related calls. garbage.

Moreover, while the former EPCA ordered in 2019 that security guards should be provided with electric heaters by RWAs to prevent bonfires, the idea remained largely a failure. URJA’s Goel said the management was inconvenient. “The RWAs can provide blankets and better clothes to help the guards during the winters,” he added. Chitra Mukherjee, a circular economy and sustainable livelihood consultant who has worked on waste management issues in Delhi, said there are already enough regulations and fines to tackle the crisis in waste management. waste in the city and that municipal bodies should focus on their enforcement. “Despite the provisions for heavy fines for non-compliance with waste segregation, illegal dumping and waste incineration, the same annual cycle is repeated every year. Various small towns are much more successful in solving their waste management issues and Delhi will also have to get back to basics. Improvement can only start at the household and community level, ”she added.


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