PMC plans higher fines to stop garbage burning

Citizens And Civic Staff Can Face Action For Setting Fires

“The department of solid waste management of the PMC has drafted new bylaws. A higher fine is one way to resolve this problem,” Suresh Jagtap, head of the PMC’s solid waste management department, told TOI on Thursday.

“We have forwarded the proposal of increasing fines to the civic body. The fine applies on citizens as well as civic staff, who are caught burning garbage. The heavy fine will help in reducing the cases of rubbish burning,” Jagtap said.

The department of solid waste management, Jagtap said, is coordinating with local ward offices to study and implement the proposal of higher fines. Action will also be taken based on citizens’

complaints. According to official records, cases of open burning tend to increase during the winter.

TOI readers from across the city have been claiming for months that garbage is being set ablaze in their areas. Many have also reported serious health problems.

Reader Raj Sharma from Hadapsar asked why the PMC was ignoring the problem of garbage burning in the Hadapsar area.

“Morning walkers heading towards the Hadapsar gliderdrome are being forced to endure severe air pollution due to the open burning of garbage. Isn’t the civic body responsible for the people’s health?” he asked while submitting photos via the Citizen Reporter app.

“Despite multiple complaints registered at the ward office here, heaps of garbage are being set alight along the Kharadi bypass road. It’s a serious health risk,” said Amit Purwar, a resident of this busy area.

Readers also pointed at the involvement of fellow citizens in open burning.

“People staying in Bhunde Vasti, Bavdhan have been burning garbage in the open. This waste has high levels of plastic in it and as a result, there’s a lot of smoke during the evening hours,” Mahesh Fukey, a resident of Bavdhan wrote.

Locations near important institutions were not being spared either. “Garbage is being regularly set on fire in the MIDC area, near Sinhagad College at Kondhwa Khurd. Why are officials ignoring this illegal act?” asked reader Ravi Gour.

Others alleged that the civic body was ignoring their complaints.

“Next to Nine Hills at NIBM Road, garbage is being set on fire every three days. The smoke from the fires is entering our homes. We registered multiple complaints through the PMC app. But that hasn’t helped,” said Santosh Patil, a resident of NIBM Road. One reader said Pune could be the next Delhi as far as heavy air pollution was concerned.

“The toxic smog over Delhi has set off alarm bells here. Pune city could be next on the pollution list. For decades now, Salisbury Park, has been troubled by miscreants burning tyres near the canal. The smoke has been a major cause of health problems in the area. We have made numerous complaints but the problem persists,” reader Tara Pathak wrote recently.

The burning of waste is also worrying those living in the PCMC areas. In fact, officials from the PMC have in the past admitted that that this was a serious problem in the fringe areas, where proper waste disposal methods are yet to be set up. “Pune’s pollution levels may not be as bad as New Delhi’s but this city has a problem of crop burning too,” said Archana Hemmady,from Hinjewadi. A photo submitted by Hemmady showed husks burning at a farm near the city’s IT areas.

“In the background are high-rises that are part of the Hinjewadi IT hub’s skyline. What is the civic body doing for the health of the thousands of people visiting this busy area?” asked Archana Hemmady.

Source : TOI