Only 32% of pollution-related complaints resolved in Noida, Ghaziabad

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Only 32% of pollution-related complaints resolved in Noida, Ghaziabad
© Provided by Hindustan Times Billows of smoke from a factory’s chimney at Bulandshahr Road Industrial Area in India on Saturday. (Sakib Ali/HT photo)

Authorities responsible for managing the pollution levels in both Noida and Ghaziabad have been receiving a number of complaints related to air pollution this season as the two cities are reeling under ‘very poor’ air for days together. However, authorities have been able to solve less than half the complaints registered this year, shows records available with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

According to CPCB records, around 32% of the complaints registered by CPCB teams and the general public were resolved while about 38% of the complaints related to hotspots and areas other than hotspots, where CPCB teams paid a visit and found alleged violation of pollution norms, were resolved.

Data available with the CPCB shows that its teams lodged 105 complaints in ‘hotspots’ and ‘other than hotspot areas’ between October 20 and November 25, of which only 40 complaints were resolved till November 25.

With regard to complaints lodged by the CPCB teams and the general public in Delhi-NCR, 258 such complaints were registered, of which only 83 were resolved between October 15 and November 25.

The complaints reported in Uttar Pradesh are mostly from NCR areas of Noida, Ghaziabad and Greater Noida and involves different agencies in the three cities.

Officials of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said the complaints received this season are mostly related to burning of waste and road dust.

“We are regularly resolving the complaints; the complaint registered against different agencies are immediately forwarded to the respective departments. They have been asked to update the records once the complaints are resolved. There is also regular monitoring of complaints by the district administration,” said Utsav Sharma, regional officer of UPPCB, Ghaziabad.

In Noida, UPPCB officials said that they are taking up the complaints on priority basis, which go through different levels of monitoring up to the additional chief secretary level.

“The complaints need to be resolved within 48 to 72 hours. Sometimes, we receive complaints which are not directly related to air pollution, such as instances of traffic jams and use of pressure horns in vehicles. Still, efforts are taken up for resolution of the complaints through different agencies. In Noida, there were many pending complaints; the respective agencies were asked to address them at the earliest,” said Praveen Kumar, regional officer of UPPCB, Noida.

Environmentalists said air pollution levels have mostly been in the “severe” to “very poor” category this season.

“It is important to resolve the complaints on a priority basis given the high levels of air pollution. Speedy resolution will help in reducing the pollution and curbing the source. Instances of garbage burning and road dust are regular features in the three cities and strict ground level enforcement is needed,” said Akash Vashishtha, an environmentalist from Ghaziabad.

On Saturday, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida and Noida ended up with ‘very poor’ air with AQI readings of 368, 322 and 381 respectively.

A forecast by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar) indicated that the air quality is likely to remain same on Sunday.

“Local surface winds are likely to increase moderately on 29th and 30th (November) that increases dispersion of pollutants leading to slight improvement but AQI remains in ‘very poor’ category. Low mixing layer height and low winds are preventing efficient dispersion of pollutants. The percentage share of stubble burning related pollutants in Delhi’s PM2.5 is 6%,” said the Safar forecast.

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