- 14 home guards have been posted as marshals in seven wards of three MCDs
- Department of Environment plans to increase the number of marshals to 100
- Marshals will get paid a monthly amount of Rs 6,500 by Delhi government
New Delhi: Delhi has been witnessing high levels of hazardous air pollution for the past months. In November, the thick toxic smog swathed Delhi, where pollution readings in some places peaked at 500 – the most severe level on the government’s air quality index that measures poisonous particles. In mid-December, Delhi saw an improvement in air quality as pollution level dropped from ‘severe +’ category to ‘very poor’. But the situation is unlikely to improve in the coming days. According to the India Meteorological Department (Met), ‘severe’ air pollution may return in the national capital in the run-up to New Year. This Met forecast has prompted the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to direct agencies to step up action against polluting sources. In order to combat air pollution, the Delhi government has announced the deployment of home guard volunteers as environment marshals, who will check burning in the open and other practices that cause air pollution.
Fourteen home guards have already been posted in seven wards of three municipal corporations, covering high polluting areas including Anand Vihar, I.P. Extension, Jhilmil, Daryaganj, Okhla, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar-Samaypur Badli and Shahbad Daulatpur-Pooth Khurd.
In the coming days, the Department of Environment plans to increase the number of marshals from 14 to 100 who will be deployed in 50 wards of all three municipal corporations, Delhi’s Environment Minister Imran Hussain announced in a series of tweets.
Department of Environment further plans to increase the number of Marshalls from 14 to 100 who will be deployed in 50 wards of all three MCD's.
— Imran Hussain (@ImranHussaain) December 27, 2017
Trained to act as the eyes and ears of the government, the marshals will report on the incidents of open burning of leaves, garbage or plastic, or open dumping of construction waste without taking adequate pollution control measures and spillage of solid waste at dhalaos (large three-walled concrete structures meant for collection of garbage from a locality or market) of MCD.
According to the Delhi government, the marshals will report to supervisory officers from DPCC on a daily basis and will be paid a lump sum monthly amount of Rs 5,000 for transportation and Rs 1,500 for mobile phone usage.
In November, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), under the Delhi government, to check the open burning and to take effective measures to control dust pollution caused due to irresponsible construction activities.
Later, the Central Pollution Control Board also came up with rules barring sale of construction materials at the road side and notifying standards for dumping the construction waste by either covering it or sprinkling water to control dust.