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Posted at: Mar 12, 2018, 2:26 AM; last updated: Mar 12, 2018, 2:26 AM (IST)

Despite ban, garbage burning continues

Despite ban, garbage burning continues
Smoke emanates from garbage heaps being burnt near Fountain Chowk in Patiala. Rajesh Sachar

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 11

The practice of burning garbage in the open goes unabated in the city. Garbage heaps were seen being set on fire on a vacant plot near Fountain Chowk here today.

The banned practice was also seen in the Urban Estate Phase 3 residential parks along the main road.

Motorists had a tough time commuting on the stretch between Fountain Chowk and the Children Memorial roundabout due to the smoke emanating from the garbage heaps. Usually, Garbage is piled up by roadsides and on vacant plots to set afire.

As per health experts, garbage burning, in fact, contributes to the existing urban air pollution which affects the health of people. Ash particulates can irritate the eyes and throat and can restrict the visibility.

The Municipal Corporation must ensure that offenders are held accountable for the act. They must be punished, said Ram Singh, a fruit vendor.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT), in its order two years ago, had announced a ban on burning the garbage in the open, including at landfill sites. It also stated that persons held responsible for waste burning would be liable to pay an environmental compensation of Rs 5,000 in case of simple burning and Rs 25,000 for burning large quantities of waste.

The NGT had also made it clear that the environmental compensation should be recovered as arrears of land revenue by the competent authority in accordance with the law.

Municipal Corporation Mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu said: “I will send teams to inspect such spots to check the banned practice. Strict action will be taken against defaulters accordingly.

The Municipal Corporation ignores the banned practice and fails to take action against the guilty. The MC employees, it is learned, are openly flouting the ban orders. Instead of disposing of garbage in an eco-friendly way, they pile it up along with dried leaves and burn the same in the open.

Last year, the Punjab Pollution Control Board had formed 100 teams across the state to check the menace of garbage burning and found lapses in many cities where municipal employees were seen burning garbage. Three incidents were reported from Patiala.

Burning of garbage releases dioxins, a kind of environmental pollutant, in the air. They belong to the so-called dirty dozen — a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants.

According to WHO, dioxins are highly toxic. Experiments have shown that they affect a number of organs and systems if humans are exposed to prolonged exposure.

Garbage heaps have started emerging at various spots only about a month after the city was being cleaned in view of the Swachh Survekshan 2018. Openly strewn garbage can be seen at various spots, including near level crossing 22, flyover near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib and Fountain Chowk, in the city.

100 teams formed to check menace

Last year, the Punjab Pollution Control Board had formed 100 teams across the state to check the menace of garbage burning and found lapses in many cities where municipal employees were seen burning garbage. Three incidents were reported from Patiala.

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