The VICE Guide to Right Now

Over 99,000 Fines Issued in Delhi for Violating Anti-Pollution Laws

An environmental compensation of around has been imposed on polluters in “gas chamber” Delhi.
Shamani Joshi
Mumbai, IN
Over 99000 fines imposed in Delhi for violating anti-pollution laws
Demonstrations have erupted in the national capital region in the light of the terrible conditions of the air quality on November 3 in Delhi. Photo: Sajjad Hussain / AFP

It’s been a tough week for those in Delhi, as pollution levels peaked to the ‘severe plus’ category, prompting India’s capital city to declare a state of public health emergency and inculcate measures to bring down the toxic haze. But even as Delhi is being described as a “gas chamber”, a sense of callousness and ignorance continues, perhaps best exemplified by the women who carried on the tradition of the Chath Puja in the Yamuna river even as it overflowed with toxic foam. But it may just be worse than we thought.


While the state government has rolled out car rationing schemes like odd-even, halted construction activity and burning of garbage, citizens continue to carelessly flout the rules. And the situation is so bad that official data records show more than 99,000 fines having been given out to people for violating anti-pollution laws, with the total environmental compensation coming up to Rs 14 crores ($19,70,665).

300 teams put together by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd, Public Works Department (PWD), district magistrates and municipal corporations set out to identify people doing stuff like dumping construction and demolition waste, burning garbage or carrying on with construction activities, and have conducted 19,100 inspections so far. Also, a statement issued by the government said that 29,044 metric tonnes of construction and demolition waste were lifted by municipal corporations and the Public Works Department.

The DPCC is also holding various government agencies such as the PWD, Central Public Works Department, National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited, and the Delhi Development Authority accountable for any kind of violation of dust control norms at major construction sites. This heavy penalty also applies to ready mix concrete companies overstepping dust control guidelines. "Rs 57 lakh has been deposited by the violators in the last 15 days," the government statement said.


Meanwhile, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has imposed a ban on diesel generator sets till March 15, 2020, and is even holding a special drive to make sure that they are not being used.

"Three-hundred-nineteen industrial units, which have not switched to piped natural gas (PNG), have been directed to remain closed till November 8. Seventy-four other units which are using other fuels have been closed," the statement said.

The implementation of these new rules has been especially intensified in industrial areas like Wazirpur, Mayapuri and Okhla industrial areas which are more likely to have dust emissions. "Industries running on fuel other than PNG have been shut down," the statement said. 41 of these industrial units falling under orange and red categories, which signify the high amount of damage they do to the environment, have reportedly been closed. "Encroachments have been removed from roads and a project to reconstruct the entire road network has been awarded. Open sites where unauthorized dismantling and parking used to take place have been cleared and converted into green lots," the statement said.

Meanwhile, major industrial sites have been shut down in Okhla and sprinklers have been set off to settle the lingering dust. Traffic police have also been permanently appointed to ensure there’s no unauthorised parking in designated zones during the day.

Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.