Garbage dumping chokes Dwarka drains

Residents of Dwarka in different sectors are in a bind over garbage dumped in drains that’s choking the water flow and adding to the toxic content of the area. It’s posing a serious health hazard for residents living along the drains in sectors 3, 5 11 and 12.

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Floating garbage mounds in the drain present an ugly picture and puncture the claim of civic authorities and their cleanliness sloganeering, say some residents, who complain that no official was responding to their complaints.

Consider this Palam drain that goes through the sectors 3, 5, 11 and 12, or the one called Trunk Drain 5 in sectors 3 and 13 – one can see garbage piles floating in the catchment area of the drain and choking the drain in the process.

A huge mound of garbage can be seen next to a petrol station at sector 11. Several complaints by the residents of flats and societies nearby have failed to yield desired results. “The civic authorities are passing the buck instead of acting on complaints,” said Sanjeev Kumar, a resident of sector 13.

“Behind societies such as Metro View Apartments, Netaji Subhash Apartments in Sector 13, there’s the TD 5, which is full of garbage and filth,” he said adding, “Even the garbage collectors find this place easy to dispose the garbage.”

The civic bodies should act and stop this nuisance, Kumar said.

Durga Pooja Apartment residents called on the mayor of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Kamalijeet Sehrawat, who gave them a patient hearing, but informed them that drains did not come under her jurisdiction. “But she promised help. She said she could act on the grounds of sanitation, which came under her jurisdiction” said RWA president of Durga Pooja Apartments, Ajay Chawdhary.

“Mayor assured us that she would raise the issue of garbage with the concerned officials in the DDA flood division and see if barricading of the drain could be done,” Chawdhary said.

The residents complain that the councillor never visited their area and they were unsure as to whom to approach.

Similar is the situation in societies along the Palam drain. Former general secretary of Adarsh Apartments in Sector 3 of Pocket 16, Uma Shankar, told City Spidey that the issue should be taken up seriously as the practice of dumping garbage has increased. “Authorities must take urgent steps to improve the situation,” he said.

The condition of the Palam drain near a bridge in Sector 11 is a constant source of worry for the residents near the locality.

Sunita Chawla, a resident of sector 11, said, “This is making the already toxic water more toxic and poses a health hazard and damages environment too.”

Civic authorities are making a joke of the Clean India campaign, she said, adding that different bodies continue to throw the ball in each other’s court rather than act while people suffer.

 

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Palam Vihar, Sector 21: Residents mull protests for civic response

The residents of Sector 21, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon, are extremely unhappy and annoyed with the civic authorities for the very poor condition of the roads in the neighbourhood. For the past several days, they have made many complaints to the municipal corporation, but with little or no response.

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So far, there has been no concerted action on the ground, residents allege. Which is why, they are contemplating stepping up protest, like the residents of Park View Residency did. But they want to wait for some more time for the corporation to respond to their pleas before stepping up their stir for better roads.

Four out of five pockets in Sector 21 are pockmarked with huge potholes that make driving difficult. Especially hit are the two-wheeler drivers, who are at constant risk.

Instances of pothole related deaths in Bengaluru have only heightened the fears of the residents.

Umed Singh, RWA president of Sector 21, told City Spidey, “We highlighted the problem several times, but authorities are yet to act. Other than giving oral assurances, they have not taken serious action on our complaints.”

The residents, he said, were fed up and were thinking of stepping up the agitation. “Now, we need to resort to a serious protest to get our issues sorted out,” he said.

The grouse of the residents is that they keep paying property taxes on time, but they don’t get even the basic facilities. “The potholes are only increasing in size and numbers due to constant traffic on the roads,” said a resident of sector 21.

Virender Yadav, the newly elected MCG councillor, promised action very soon. “I have already highlighted this issue at the district redressal meeting presided over by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. We are expecting MCG’s action on the same soon,” he told City Spidey.

The residents, however, want to see results on the ground.

Gurgaon’s La Laguna residents turn waste into wealth

The RWA and residents of La Laguna, a condominium on Golf Course Road, Gurgaon, have  installed a compost plant to process and turn waste into manure. For starters, the process begins with segregation of garbage and waste through a disciplined system of waste collection. This is followed by a waste management process that turns garbage into manure.

Conceived early this year, the initiative is now fully operational and has begun yielding results. While the daily waste is segregated into wet and dry, E-waste is collected separately.

The condominium processes 4,500 kg of wet waste

The RWA initiative was welcomed wholeheartedly by the residents, some of whom are enthusiastic participants in the whole programme and have spread awareness about waste segregation within the society members.

Kavita Bansal, a resident of the society, told City Spidey, “Our waste collectors collect both types of waste. Kitchen waste along with horticulture waste is converted to rich compost in 20 to 25 days in the plant by natural process.”

“The compost plant located inside the society generates nearly 400 kg of manure from 4,500 kg of kitchen waste that is collected in a month,” she added.

For the  E-waste, there are separate bins that collect electronic items. The bins are kept at two locations inside the complex.

“Residents throw unusable electronic items into these bins. Once they are filled up, E-waste is handed over to an authorised E-waste recycle professional,” Kuldeep Kohli, RWA president said.

Dwarka: DJB admits to sending unverified water bills to residents!

At a meeting between officials of the Delhi Jal Board and Dwarka’s Federation of Cooperative Group Housing Societies, the former accepted that there had been no verification of water bills before they were dispatched to the societies. According to the Federation, DJB had sent wrong bills for water, bore wells and also the rain water harvesting system. Dwarka Breaking News

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After the meeting, which was presided over by Sudha Sinha, general secretary of Dwarka and V Selvarajan, secretary CGHS Federation, a Federation representative told City Spidey that DJB had instructed them not to pay any unverified bills.

“Though they have not given us anything in writing yet they have verbally reiterated this point. They have also added that the penalty imposed on rain-water harvesting systems will be rolled back,” the representative said.

Sudha Sinha said that her society, Delhi Apartments in Sector 22, too had received faulty bills. She added that a penalty had been imposed despite the rain-water harvesting systems in their society being functional. “This is unfortunate. They should have verified the bills properly before sending them to the residents.”

Incidentally, rain- water harvesting does not entail a separate bill. However, people who have rain-water harvesting mechanisms pay a higher consolidated water bill to the DJB. The issue of sending bills without verification of the rain water harvesting systems was also raised last summer in the course of a meeting with the area MLA, Gulab Singh Yadav in the presence of DJB officials. The MLA had assured to solve the problems.

DJB Vice Chairman Dinesh Mohania and the area MLA Gulab Singh Yadav were also present in the recent meeting, the outcome of which was posted on Facebook.

Secretary of Federation of CGHS and a resident of Diamond Square Apartments in Sector 6, V Selvarajan, who was also present at the meeting said, “Everyone knows that Dwarka had water supply issues before 2015. Water supply was mostly through tankers which were duly supplemented with groundwater. However, now that water supply is sufficient, no one is dependent on groundwater. Taxing societies just because bore wells exist now is illogical, unjustifiable and not sustainable.” Now that DJB has accepted that the bills were generated without verification, law abiding citizens have reason to doubt and question the efficacy of its functioning. “We hope that DJB shall be pragmatic in approaching the issues, in terms of both bore well and rainwater harvesting,” says Selvarajan.

Thank god air pollution is just ‘severe’ post Diwali

As expected, there was a sharp rise in Delhi’s air-pollution levels on the morning after Diwali. However, the situation was better than last year, when a blanket of toxic smog engulfed the city, taking air pollution levels to the “emergency category”. In comparison, air quality was tagged at “very poor” on Diwali day, and “severe” on Friday evening, a day after Diwali. Ironically, this is the least hazardous situation in the past three years.

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Despite this, however, many morning walkers, especially senior citizens, decided to stay away from neighbourhood parks for two days after Diwali to avoid inhaling toxic air.

VS Rawat, a senior resident of Parivar Apartments in IP Extension, said, “We spend two hours in the morning and two and a half hours in the evening at the neighbourhood park every day. We walk, do some yoga or just chat with friends and neighbours. But given the poor air quality after Diwali, we decided to stay at home for at least two days, hoping things would get better after that.”

AK Pandey, a resident of Vasundhara Enclave, however, felt this year’s post-Diwali morning was “much better in comparison to last year”. He said, “The Supreme Court’s ban on the sale of firecrackers worked. We hope the air quality will get better in a few days.”

That said, it definitely seems like it has been a cleaner and a less noisy Diwali, if not the pollution-free festival we all hope it will be some day.

If you live in Noida, you can now lodge your FIRs via WhatsApp

Police stations in Noida are all set to lodge FIRs via WhatsApp. The move comes after several complaints were made that the city police doesn’t pay heed to petty crimes such as snatching, vehicle theft, and purse and mobile theft. The move is expected to rule out police resistance while lodging FIRs.

An online FIR facility was first started some time back. Now lodging FIRs via WhatsApp takes it a step forward.

The complaint can either directly be typed in as a message on WhatsApp or a photograph of the handwritten copy of the complaint sent as an image. The complainant must also mention the time and date of the incident, the location, his or her full name, the police station, the district, his or her nationality, their mobile number, email ID and Aadhar number. Foreign nationals will also have to attach photographs of the first and last pages of their passports.

The number 9454401003 has been released on behalf of the police for lodging an FIR via WhatsApp. Complainants can also call 0522-2334340 and 4943707 to learn the status of their complaints.

The complainant will be informed within 24 hours of lodging the FIR about the status of the complaint. The complainant is required to send a valid ID proof along with the complaint.

Complaints made via WhatsApp will be received at the technical office in Lucknow and not at the district-level office. The complaints will then be transferred to the relevant police station and a report will reach the Lucknow office.

Luv Kumar, senior superintendent of police, Gautam Budh Nagar, said that the service has already started at the district level and complaints are being sent to relevant police stations from Lucknow.

Why has the ban on firecrackers failed to control air pollution?

So the verdict is out! Today a day after Diwali, newspapers have carried reports about how the Apex Court’s ban on firecrackers has not helped much in restricting pollution levels in the NCR. And there are live accounts of people too.

A case in point is Naresh Kumar, a resident of Dwarka Sector 12 who had undertaken a metro ride on Diwali evening from Noida Sector 55. Sharing his experience with City Spidey, Kumar said that he had started feeling a little claustrophobic on reaching the Uttam Nagar station around 10.30 pm. However, he somehow managed to continue the train journey and reach his destination which is the Dwarka Sector 12 metro station. However, in the fifteen minutes that this stretch entailed he started experiencing breathing problems as smoke had started swirling inside the compartment. The usually mint clean compartments had started to look visibly smoggy.

“As soon as the metro crossed the RK Ashram station the air inside the compartments progressively started getting heavier,” Kumar elaborated. “Since it was Diwali day there were very few people in every coach. Had it been a regular day the smoke trail would have caused much more discomfort. Infact it could have been lethal for Asthma patients.”

The seriousness of the smoke caused by crackers can be understood through Kumar’s experience. Apparently the smoke had filtered into the compartments at the time of the opening and closing of doors at the station. Incidentally when Kumar photographed the area around the metro station he could see that the smoke was stagnant at a particular height, owing to the specific atmospheric temperature.

According to a Metro official, the Noida Dwarka line has an elevation of about 18 metres. This clearly shows that the smoke was dense at this height too.

One cannot help wondering what exactly had triggered this uncomfortable level of pollution despite the fact that firecrackers were significantly lesser this year.

SK Malik who has been studying environment and pollution in Delhi and its surrounding areas had a simple commonsense theory. He said that the ban was ineffective as people nevertheless had purchased crackers from other places. “The pollution measurement equipment that has been designed per international standards was at its highest level yesterday. It had touched 999 at two places in Delhi. So one can easily understand the severity of the pollution levels”

Malik shared that the pollution levels were actually not lesser than last year. However, he says that due to some atmospheric factors like temperature and humidity the effect was low at the surface level. “This year there is a wind speed and some measure of humidity. These factors have mitigated the ground level smoke proliferation and hence controlled pollution,” said Malik.

City Spidey also approached Diwan Singh, an environment activist from Natural Heritage First for a perspective.  In his words, “The ban on sale of fire crackers has failed to make an impact to air pollution as the root of the problem lies elsewhere. The example of Chennai versus Delhi can explain this. The vehicle density of Chennai is much more than Delhi. However, Chennai has only one tenth of Delhi’s pollution than Delhi. This is because pollution of a city is mitigated when polluted air gets exchanged with the fresh air of hinterlands. Delhi has a vast concrete spread. This does not give enough time for air to exchange with the fresh air from surrounding hinterlands. Generally, low temperature and low wind speed in winter further aggravates the position. On the other hand, the urban concrete landscape of Chennai is relatively lesser. Most importantly Chennai has the sea in its vicinity that facilitates a good exchange of air.”

So are the satellite towns of Delhi compounding the problem of air pollution? “Well yes. Air does not recognise political boundaries. De-expansion of Delhi and it’s satellite towns is the only way to control air pollution.”