Despite ban on construction, dust pollution unchecked in many areas

Heaps of earth found uncovered in violation of CPCB guidelines for dust control

Despite the city’s air quality being in the “very poor” category for the last two days, dust pollution caused by construction activities was noticed in three areas along an eight-km stretch of road in central and south Delhi on Monday, which was selected at random for a spot check by The Hindu.

Roads were being dug up at a colony in Jor Bagh without following any dust-control measures, though there is a ban on construction activities in the city due to the high pollution levels.

The air quality index of the city was 353 (very poor) on Monday, up from 330 on Sunday, as per the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) 4 p.m. bulletin, which is the average of the past 24 hours.

On Monday afternoon, at B.K. Dutt Colony in central Delhi, more than a dozen sections on the road were dug up and work was going on in multiple areas. Heaps of reddish earth were dug out and were not covered and water was also not sprinkled on them.

Workers said they are laying cable for a company, which provides services related to telecommunication and Internet.

As per the CPCB guidelines for dust control issued in November 2017, sheets made of plastic, tarpaulin etc. should be used to cover construction material that are easily airborne and also the debris that are dumped at temporary storage sites.

Dust contributes to fine inhalable particles called particulate matter, which goes deep into the lungs and even bloodstream and causes health problems.

When contacted, a Delhi Government spokesperson refused to comment.

Near the intersection of Aurobindo Marg and Chaudhary Dilip Singh Marg, heaps of earth were found uncovered along the main road with a sign “Delhi Jal Board Men at Work”.

Along Press Enclave Marg, on the opposite side of Geetanjali Club Lawn, heaps of construction and demolition (C&D) waste were found dumped without any covering.

A worker standing on a pick-up van, was dumping C&D waste using a spade, as dust rose up into the air. One side of the van read: “Government of Delhi PWD Maintenance South Road II subdivision”.

The Delhi Government is currently running the second phase of a campaign against dust pollution in the city and officials said that ₹1.3 crore was collected as fines for violations in the first phase.

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