NEW DELHI: The multi-pronged battle against air pollution seems to be stretching the resources of police and civic authorities in the national capital ahead of Diwali. The Supreme Court had, on October 23, allowed the use of certified ‘less-polluting’ firecrackers from 8-10 pm in designated areas of the city in response to a petition filed by several activists seeking a blanket ban on fireworks.
The police will have to ensure that only firecrackers certified by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) are sold in the city and that the rules set by the SC regarding time and location of firecracker use are being followed.But they are facing several key issues. “PESO certified or green crackers are still not available in the market. Also, the designated areas where burning of such crackers would be allowed are yet to be observed and conveyed to us by Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) and the Delhi government, for which we are coordinating with both...” said Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma.
Bigger battle for civic bodies
Civic authorities on the other hand, are grappling with a lack of manpower and coordination in having to implement a Graded Action Plan (GRAP) to bring down overall pollution levels in the city, that was prescribed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA), as well as complying with the SC order.
These bodies will have to monitor over 9,000 vacant parks and plots of land to ensure that firecracker use is restricted only to spots designated by the government, according to the SC’s judgment. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal also held a meeting with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the Transport department and the various municipal corporations of the city to discuss the implementation of the GRAP plan.
Under the initiative, which will run from November 1-5, Environment Marshals have been entrusted with the task of clamping down on any activity that creates smoke, dust. This includes putting a stop to construction.
Officials however, feel that complying with the SC order is difficult.
“As it is the SC order so we have to follow it, but real issues remain on the force that is required to manage people. The public is also not very cooperative as it Diwali and we have to see that no crackers are being burst so going in each and every lane would be required,” said a civic body official, who did not want to be named.