New Delhi: Littering and non-segregation of waste in National Capital Territory of Delhi can now burn a hole in your pocket, thanks to the new Solid Waste Management Bye-laws passed by the Delhi Government. Now, if a person is found littering, he will attract a penalty of Rs. 500. While failure to segregate, store waste and handover segregated waste in accordance with the by-laws will attract a penalty of Rs. 200 for residential household and Rs. 5,000 for community halls, cineplex or pubs. Open burning of solid waste will attract a penalty of Rs. 5,000. Penalties for companies which sell or market disposable products without a system of collecting back the packaging waste generated due to their production is Rs 1 lakh. Industrial units which do not replace their current fuel – petrol, diesel, CNG or PNG – with refuse derived fuel (RDF) will also be slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
The fees and penalties under the bye-laws will see a five per cent per annum increase, said Delhi government’s additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghosh as he informed a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar that the bye-laws have been notified on Monday after approval from the Lieutenant Governor.
Following this, the court asked the Delhi Government and the civic authorities to start spreading awareness about the penalties being imposed for polluting the environment with garbage and suggested that they should collect fines on the spot from people found littering via handheld electronic devices like the ones used by the traffic police. Apart from this, the court also pointed out that it had not seen any cleanliness-related advertisements in the media in the city and asked the authorities to run ad campaigns similar to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The court said,
If you are addressing Swachh Bharat campaign, then why are you not making people aware of the consequences of littering?
Currently, mixed waste is collected and sent to the already clogged dump sites in Delhi, or waste-to-energy plants or compost plants. The rate of segregation in the city is not more than 2%, while over 10,000 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste is generated in Delhi daily.
The bench has directed all the authorities to file status reports indicating the working or implementation of the bye-laws and listed the matter for further hearing on February 27.
The court’s order came while hearing two PILs by lawyers Arpit Bhargava and Gauri Grover who had sought directions to municipal bodies and other authorities to take steps to prevent the spread of dengue, chikungunya and malaria.