Air

New app to let users report complaints about air pollution

Hawa Badlo will be available to the public on IOS and Android phones. The launch is part of the winter action campaign against Delhi's pollution

 
By Anisha Raman
Last Updated: Friday 28 October 2016

Air pollution level increases in the winter due to paddy residue burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The presence of particulate matter in the air is the major reason for Delhi’s dirty air
Credit: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier/Flickr

Though winter is yet to set in, the national capital is suffering from poor air quality as reported by the media recently. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), air pollution level in the city has gone up since the monsoon.

To tackle the menace of air pollution, bring in more accountability in the public domain and disseminate information, the Environment Protection Control Authority (EPCA) for the National Capital Region (NCR), along with municipal corporations and the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, has prepared a mobile application, Hawa Badlo, to follow up public complaints on air pollution.

The EPCA monitors the progress of government action taken in reducing incidents of crop burning, controlling dust flow from unpaved roads and building construction activity. Within a short span of five days, the app has got 1615 active users and 164 complaints have been received till October 27. 

"Most complaints coming to the hawa badlo app are related to waste burning. What is the government doing about it?" asked Anumita Roy Chowdhury, head of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE's) clean air campaign.

Tackling pollution

The app was launched on October 21 as part of the winter action campaign against air pollution. 

Those having IOS phones can download app here.

The users of Android phones can download app here.

It will enable people to record instances of violation, according to the Supreme Court directive given last year against air pollution. Users can report violation cases, which would then be screened for veracity, by a team of administrators and forwarded to officials concerned for taking necessary action.

Users reporting violation cases will be kept in the feedback loop till a particular case is concluded. Cases will be marked as concluded on the user’s app only on admission of proof of action taken. The user will get a report of the action taken and a record will be created in a particular area. This will help in creating a database of repeat offenders, thus deterring violation activities in future.

Poor air quality

Air pollution level increases in the winter due to paddy residue burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The presence of particulate matter (PM) in the air is the major reason for Delhi’s dirty air.

In 2015, a report done by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, found that the primary pollutants affecting Delhi’s air are PM 10 and PM 2.5. Vehicular emission, crop residue burning and construction activity are to be blamed for this.

The study reported that nearly 56 per cent of PM10 and 38 per cent of PM2.5 in the air was due to road dust while crop residue burning contributed 26 per cent to the overall air pollution level.

PM2.5 can easily penetrate into lungs, causing cardiovascular problems and damage to the inner walls of the arteries. Young and old people and those employed in hazardous occupations are most vulnerable.

To tackle pollution in Delhi and NCR, the National Green Tribunal, in its 2015 order in the Sanjay Kulshreshta vs Union of India case, directed the state government, CPCB and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to ban garbage burning, prevent dust flow at construction sites, take requisite action to repair pavements and reduce dust on the roads.

Burning garbage now invites a penalty of Rs 5,000 to Rs 1 lakh per case while non-compliance with the norms relating to construction activity is fined Rs 50,000 per incident.

Violations during carriage and transportation of construction materials and debris through trucks and other vehicle attract a penalty of Rs 5,000 per incident.

Weak action

While in the past various agencies had introduced social media campaigns to raise awareness about air pollution, these were largely ineffective. An example can be given of Faridabad, which conducted extensive awareness campaigns. It also runs a Whatsapp-based violation reporting system, but has not issued a single challan till April 2016.

Similarly, the Delhi government also runs a mobile app to report waste burning cases. The app has 50,000 downloads. But while 1,027 complaints have been lodged through these applications, no action has been reported from the agencies concerned.

Sources said though government agencies are flooded with complaints, resource crunch stands in the way. The new app will clearly define a chain of action from the pollution control boards to the municipal authorities.

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India Environment Portal Resources :

  • Status of air pollution during winter of 2015-16 and the impact of odd-even car rationing scheme on air quality
  • Air quality benefits of odd-even vehicle rationing programme in Delhi: An analysis of week 1
  • Letter from EPCA to Govt of NCT of Delhi regarding Supreme Court order on trucks entering Delhi
  • EPCA Report - Report on priority measures to reduce air pollution and protect public health
    • Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

      • unathorize cooking is going on,with the help of police and MCD on the pavement at Basant Rd. Pahar ganj New Delhi.and also left over food with other dirties spread over the road, connecting Rly station(ND).

        Posted by: Ajay Kumar | 2 years ago | Reply
      • I'm from tamilnadu . I need to file a complaint against open burning in my area. For this, what are the procedures I'm going to done. Can anyone clarify my doubt?

        Posted by: Pavithra | one year ago | Reply
      • At Delhi's largest garbage dump in Mukarba Chowk, on the the city's northern border, thick smoke has been rising up steadily for the last 2000 days as a mountain of trash across 40 acres

        Posted by: Divya Kr Sharma | one year ago | Reply
      • We the residents of olive county SEC 5 Vasundhara Ghaziabad up are facing acute Pollution by chimneys of generators of 2500KVA.The height of the chimney is very low as per the rules of the Pollution department.we are requesting the pollution department Vasundhara Ghaziabad up since 2012 but till date no action.

        Posted by: S P Gupta | one year ago | Reply
      • Dear,

        I wanted to post a complaint against the Burning of E-Waste, Wire, Cable etc. which are being burned everyday near Surakh Pur Village in Najafgarh (South West Delhi) Delhi – 110043 and Village Isherheri (Bahadurgarh) in Haryana.
        The amount of pollution created by burning of electric Cables, E-waste, are immense and they are very dangerous and hazardous to health.
        And they generate huge tones of Heat and smoke daily and spread air pollution.

        After finding we came to know that Waste is bought form different part of Delhi and Haryana and being burnt near the above named village, to take out different mettle from Electronic Waste.
        This all starts in Dark Night they emit all the dangerous gases which pollute the air that is being breathed by the innocent villagers and colony near Najafgarh.

        As per the Govt. rule they are not supposed to burn the Electronic waste around a residential area, but to your surprise this is going on from many day in the same village.

        People are unable to breathe properly. They are poor people who don’t know where to go and whom to complain to.
        Please help the villagers and Colony people.

        I hope action will be taken...

        JAI HIND

        Posted by: Vishal | 12 months ago | Reply
      • I wanted to post a complaint against the Burning of E-Waste, Wire, Cable etc. which are being burned everyday location behta hazipur loni Ghaziabad near shia jama masjid.

        The amount of pollution created by burning of electric Cables, E-waste, are immense and they are very dangerous and hazardous to health.
        And they generate huge tones of Heat and smoke daily and spread air pollution.

        After finding we came to know that Waste is bought form different part of Delhi and Haryana and being burnt near the above named village, to take out different mettle from Electronic Waste.
        This all starts in Dark Night they emit all the dangerous gases which pollute the air that is being breathed by the innocent villagers and colony near behta hazipur

        As per the Govt. rule they are not supposed to burn the Electronic waste around a residential area, but to your surprise this is going on from many day in the same village.

        People are unable to breathe properly. They are poor people who don’t know where to go and whom to complain to.
        Please help the villagers and Colony people.

        I hope action will be taken...

        JAI HIND

        Posted by: HASAN Zaidi | 12 months ago | Reply
      • I'm from telangana and I am just 14 years old girl, I need to file a complaint against few young boys in our street because they were increasing pollution on behalf of depavali. We don't want to increase this
        And our family and our street members are suffering a lot so please take an action.

        MAYBE THIS IS A FESTIVAL TIME BUT THEY CAN ENJOY WITH THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS. BUT NOT WITH CRACKERS. So please take an action.

        Posted by: B.Akshitha | 12 months ago | Reply
      • I am living at b block anoop nagar new delhi 110059. Which is situated near a kuhmar colony . Every evening there is lot air pollution generated due to there poutry works. There affect we will seen on our home plants. They are all are damaged due to thos heavy pollution on daily basis. Please we need your help to stop these activities . So that near located societies people health is going to safe

        Posted by: Sumit Kumar | 12 months ago | Reply
      • Unauthorised construction on the terrace of A 367, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi -110076 is going on even today i.e.10.11.2017 with the help of MCD when NGT has stopped all types construction activities for some days owing to severe air pollution. It seems money power is prevailing.

        Posted by: Jagdish Goklani | 11 months ago | Reply
      • Complaint about air pollution by New India Bakery located at Main Road, Address 2151/ 5, New Patel Nagar , New Delhi-110008, Opposite metro pillar no. 247.
        It also blocked the footpath way by establishing counter and making bakery items which create lot of pollution , I request authorities to take necessary action.

        Posted by: Ramesh | 11 months ago | Reply
      • I want to post a complaint of village rangila west delhi 110041air pollution specially in night time as al the factories switch on at night, it's difficult to respirate from seven evening to seven morning, here air pollution cross all the limits due to unauthorized factories

        Posted by: Rakesh Lakra | 9 months ago | Reply
      • I am from ludhiana. My complaint is against a illegal dyeing factory running on both sides of my corner house in tibba r
        oad iqbal nagar, street n.3 and 4/2.it uses toxic chemicals.
        Which gives pungent smell. Poisonous smoke comes out of it.This dyeing factory is having about 13 to16 weaving machines giving the regular irritating deafening noise. This illegal factory having a washing unit when it working gives deafening noise and vibration to the whole building.It is breathless to live near this factory. Kindly take some strong action to stop this illegal dyeing factory in residential area to improve the hygienic condition and pollution free residential area.
        Thankfully
        Law abiding citizen

        Posted by: Iqbal Prashar | 9 months ago | Reply
      • I am from visakhapatnam. I want to file a complaint against the rise mill. Due to that dust my Agriculture forming damages. What are the procedures I am going to done. Pls tell

        Posted by: K SANYASINAIDU | 9 months ago | Reply
      • Again Pollution been created at Vishvakarma Nagar Mulund west by burning plastic and leaves from trees

        Posted by: Shrinivas Satyabodha Raichur | 8 months ago | Reply
      • I'm from bihar village kamtaul dis- darbhanga . I need to file a complaint against open burning in my area. For this, what are the procedures I'm going to done. Can anyone clarify my doubt?

        Posted by: NISHANT KUMAR | 6 months ago | Reply
      • i am from bahadurgarh (haryana), i face pollution problem from 2014. on nizampur road an unauthorized companies who color the cloth. some companies burn wooden log but some company burn rexine and waste and polluted air badly . its remain water which was colorful it overflow by sever and polluted the land and water. in 2014 January hare soft water and tds is 300 but now its tds is 3000 to 4200. so many times we complane in pollution department , cm window . but result is zero. when i find online contact no of air pollution department. i try to call but it is not to be used it is out of service, wrong number and some time bell is ringing and ringing. few days earlier i hear here is nothing change becouse of hafta is started to govt. employee. i dont know that hafta is also situated in our city. plz if any one help to me show the path what i do.

        here water, air, and soil are polluted on heavy amount.

        Posted by: PARDEEP KUMAR | 3 months ago | Reply
      • Pollution in Aghwanpur area from paper Mill,Moradabad

        Posted by: Iram | 3 months ago | Reply