First responsibility with local authorities
We asked: Despite a ban, garbage continues to be burnt, especially during the winter months when even plastics, rubber tubes and tires are lit for warmth. Whose accountability would you say is the most in such cases: The common man’s; the government’s; the local administration’s or the local police’s?
Winters are harsh in North India. In the absence of adequate number of bonfires in the city, it's natural for the poor and the homeless to try and warm themselves by burning discarded plastics, tyres or other waste items. In that bitter cold, it may be too much to expect them to think of the environment first. So, according to me, the first responsibility rests with the government and the local authorities— more with the latter, actually. For even though it’s the government that frames the rules, usually effective implementation of all schemes depends on the honesty and the commitment of the local administration. The police authorities too need to pitch in by curbing the practice of waste burning and directing the destitute towards the nearest municipal corporation-lit bonfire or night shelter. The police can also set up regular night patrols to curb the practice of waste / plastic / rubber burning during winter months. The patrols can also look into the issue of missing bonfires: For instance, if a crossing is supposed to have a bonfire but doesn’t, the night patrols can report that to the authorities concerned. In addition, educational posters that spell out the ill-effects of burning such items can be displayed at night shelters. This may help contribute a little bit in making the poor aware of the environmental harm caused by the burning of plastics and other hazardous wastes. Sanchita Dwivedi, media person
Despite being banned by the government, garbage burning continues to be rampant. Much of this waste is plastic and other non-biodegradable waste which when burnt produces very fine particles of PM 2.5 and PM 10 that are extremely harmful both for human health and environment. In North India, during winter season, when air quality is already low due to a number of factors, people, due to their sheer ignorance burn plastics, rubber tubes and even tires for warmth. While en masse burning of waste can be taken into account by the police, such individual action (due to ignorance) is hard to trace and punish. But then there are cases where people lit ablaze huge dumps of garbage as a quick fix solution to get rid of it. This tendency of people should be checked and punished. Aware people in a colony could stop the negligent ones from doing this. Or if they don't stop, a police complaint can be made immediately. Secondly, aware people can themselves set an example by calling the Nagar Nigam office or via app complaint and get the work done immediately. Thirdly, government should step in and create more awareness about the safe disposal of waste to ensure concrete results out of ban. Lastly, the administration, the police and individuals all need to cooperate equally to ensure the protection of environment. Himanshi Shukla, student
Topic of the month: BBB? Why is kite flying still an enjoyable pastime in cities even as the Supreme Court acknowledges the dire consequences it has on birds? Who is to be blamed for this insensitive ignorance? You may send your views in 200 words at treeta[email protected]. Please also attach a colour photo of yourself.
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