UP officials rapped for not enforcing pollution control measures in NCR
EPCA chairperson Dr Bhure Lal said that despite several reminders, requisite steps were not taken for road repair, restricting movement of commercial vehicles, improving public transport and waste management.
Retired IAS officer and chairperson of the Supreme Court-appointed environmental protection control authority (EPCA) Dr Bhure Lal, gave a dressing down to officials from seven districts of Uttar Pradesh that are part of the national capital region (NCR) for not implementing laws to control pollution in the area.
Lal said enforcement is key to improving air quality in the NCR but despite several reminders, requisite steps were not taken for road repair, restricting movement of commercial vehicles, improving public transport and waste management. He was addressing officials at a workshop held in Noida on Saturday on controlling air pollution in NCR. The workshop was organised by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) in light of the approaching winter season when pollution levels are higher.
“Air quality will not improve if we keep sitting in our offices. Restriction on movement of non-destined commercial vehicles during severe pollution conditions was imposed for all NCR cities but none except Delhi implemented it. A list of damaged roads, including the Loni-Saharanpur road, was also given to UP long back but they have not been repaired to control road dust,” Lal said.
He said that the number of vehicles was growing in Noida and Gurgaon at a pace about four times higher than Delhi. Yet, sufficient steps were not taken to improve public transport or introduce clean or alternative fuel. He added that cities should focus on electric mobility as well, albeit with full information and research about the mode.
Lal said that provisions of the graded response action plan (GRAP) were not followed in NCR cities of Uttar Pradesh, especially those related to construction activities.
“Construction material needs to be covered even during transportation but many sites violate this openly, even in Noida and Ghaziabad. Cities need to impose penalties strictly and increase the amount of fine for repeat offenders,” he said.
He added that for solid waste management, dumpyards and construction and demolition waste recycling plants need to be considered. He said that the two such recycling units in Delhi were unable to dispose recycled products and dumping grounds are a waste of land.
Giving the example of pedestrians who jump over the central verge in Noida’s Sector 18, Lal told HT, “Infrastructure for walking and cycling is important. Footpaths and crossings should be constructed for pedestrians so that vehicular pollution can be curbed. However, cycle tracks in Noida and other UP cities are encroached upon and neglected.”
Meanwhile, officials from the seven districts and the state government informed about steps taken to mitigate air pollution. A biofuel policy is also underway at the state level, they claimed.
Speaking at the workshop, UP chief secretary, Anup Pandey, said, “Some of the districts have taken good steps to control pollution. Others should try to replicate these measures. It is also essential to increase awareness and public participation and so that individuals can take steps to improve air quality.”
Officials from various government departments, including development authorities, pollution control board, transport, municipal corporations, police and others were present at the workshop.
Other officials present at the workshop included the CEO of Noida authority, UP principal secretary of environment and forest, member secretary of UPPCB, divisional commissioner of Meerut and district magistrates of Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Meerut and Shamli.
First Published: Sep 09, 2018 04:43:40