As per the rules of NGT, garbage cannot be burned in the open in the city
National Green Tribunal (NGT) has put a complete ban on open burning of waste including at landfill sites. The state pollution control boards, as well as the local civic bodies, have been entrusted with enforcement of the NGT directives. Unfortunately, the enforcement agencies have failed NGT in implementing these rules, reports Deepali Agrahari of the2is.com:
Various rules and regulations have been formulated by NGT and the Pollution Control Board, but smoldering garbage is a common site in any city in India (as seen in the video taken in Lucknow). Dumping grounds in India have no proper segregation methods or plans and it usually contains garbage which is already smoldering. Management of waste includes its collection and disposal and this responsibility lies with the concerned civic bodies. Unfortunately the civic bodies themselves brazenly flout the NGT directives, instead of enforcing them.
Be it Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi or Shimla or any city, smoldering garbage at landfills is a common sight. Dense smog is ever present around the dumping area which adds to the serious problem of air pollution.
Municipal Commissioner of Varanasi Hari Prasad Shahi, Arun Prakash of Agra, Avinash Singh of Kanpur, Prem Prakash Singh of Gorakhpur and Uday Raj Singh of Lucknow informed the2is.com that rotting garbage produces methane and other gasses which easily get ignited. The reasons are varied but sometimes it is intentional, hence it is difficult to apprehend any one. Cities like Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Agra generate around 1400 tons of garbage every day. Officials of Municipal Corporation claim that they provide training to their workers from time to time regarding collection and disposal of garbage. When investigated, workers could not provide information regarding the training programs. The municipal commissioners also claim that action is taken against defaulting municipal workers who burn garbage. But they were unable to provide details as how many defaulters have been penalized.
- When the quantity of garbage is quite large, sometimes common people and municipal workers set it on fire or they dump smoldering garbage in the landfills because of which the rest of the garbage also catches fire. Smoke is constantly produced which affects the environment. Pollution Control Board is just a guardian agency in this regard said Amit Chanda, Nodal Officer U.P. Pollution Control Board (See the slider, it is clear in the video also that the pile of waste did not ignite itself).
- Prof (Dr.) Anil Mishra says that when the moist garbage is collected it starts producing methane after some time which makes that garbage flammable. However, methane gas cannot be the cause of such large scale fire as shown in the video, and it points towards intentional burning, Prof Mishra added.
First Penalty In Lucknow
On 7th June, 2017 Lucknow Municipal Corporation’s Chief Inspector Ashish Bajpai slapped a fine of Rs. 5000 on Fatima, ‘a slum dweller’, for burning garbage. Fatima is a rag picker. Ashish Bajpai informed that this was his first action in such matter.
People residing near land fill sites or dumping grounds are exposed to constant serious health hazards. Smoke emanating from smoldering garbage causes breathing problems, asthma, allergies, eye problems and even cancer. Kishan Lal a resident of a slum near the landfill site in Lucknow says that layers of smoke around the area is causing various problems.
The National Green Tribunal was established in 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters provides environmental justice and helps reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
Waste Disposal & NGT
NGT has ordered state government, Union territories and civic bodies across the country to implement the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 in all respect. National Green Tribunal has put a complete ban on open burning of waste including at landfill sites. The tribunal has said that anyone found responsible for such burning, shall be liable to pay environmental compensation of Rs 5,000 in case of simple burning, while Rs 25,000 in case of bulk waste burning. The judgment came following the 20 years of battle by the litigator and waste management crusader Almitra H. Patel. The Supreme Court had transferred the case to the Tribunal in 2004.