Delhi: ‘Green war room’ to function round-the-clock at Secretariat to resolve complaints regarding pollution

A total of 13 pollution hotspots were identified earlier – Narela, Bawana, Wazirpur, Rohini, Punjabi Bagh, Ashok Vihar, Mundka, Dwarka, Jahangirpuri, Anand Vihar, Okhla, R. K. Puram, and Vivek Vihar.

Complaints registered through the ‘Green App’ over the past year have helped identify more pollution “hotspots” that will be monitored closely to identify and reduce sources of pollution, said Environment Minister Gopal Rai. A total of 150 such “hotspots” have been identified, he said. These are areas from where the most complaints were registered on the app. A total of 13 pollution hotspots were identified earlier – Narela, Bawana, Wazirpur, Rohini, Punjabi Bagh, Ashok Vihar, Mundka, Dwarka, Jahangirpuri, Anand Vihar, Okhla, R. K. Puram, and Vivek Vihar.

The Green Delhi mobile app, which made its debut last year, was launched for iOS on Tuesday, without any major upgrades from last year.

The app can be used by residents to register complaints on pollution-causing activities. Photos, audio and video can be uploaded on the app to register the complaint, which will then be directed to the concerned government department or agency that will be required to get the issue resolved.

The complainant can track the status of the complaint through the app. Eleven teams of ‘green marshals’ will be deployed on the ground to verify that the complaint has been resolved.

To coordinate the task of resolving complaints that will be registered through the app, a ‘green war room’ will function round-the-clock till February at the Secretariat, Rai said. The app and war room brings together a total of 27 departments and agencies, under the Union government, the Government of Delhi, and the municipal corporations, to resolve complaints. Complaints can be registered on matters including burning of waste, pollution from industries, pollution from construction and demolition sites, vehicular emissions, and dust on roads.

The war room, which was set up in October last year, will monitor data including PM2.5 and PM10 levels from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s monitoring stations, wind direction, temperature, humidity, and instances of stubble burning through NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System.

Rai said that a total of 27,000 complaints were received through the app over the past year, of which 23,000 were resolved. The maximum number of complaints were related to the municipal corporations, the PWD and the DDA, he said.

Rai added that the war room has been strengthened this year with a 21-member ‘project management unit,’ comprising members from the University of Chicago and GDi Partners, a consulting start-up, to analyse data. An additional 50 engineers are being appointed to the DPCC, to ensure monitoring, he said. DPCC officials said that the team from the University of Chicago and the DPCC had jointly analysed the complaints from the app to generate the list of 150 hotspots.

According to an analysis report prepared by the DPCC with data collected from the app, South Delhi registered the highest number of complaints, while Shahdara and South East Delhi registered the lowest between November 2020 and July 2021. A total of around 23,312 complaints were registered on the app till the end of July.

Of the 11 categories under which complaints can be registered, the highest number of complaints was registered under the category of illegal dumping of garbage on the roadside. Around 9000 complaints were registered under this category of illegal dumping, around 1500 of these from Central Delhi and 4000 from South Delhi. Complaints against road potholes were the second-highest on the app, according to the DPCC. Over 1000 complaints were registered under the biomass burning category, mostly comprising burning of garbage on the roadside.

Locations from where repeated and frequent (more than eight to ten complaints a day) complaints were received have been identified as hotspots. A senior DPCC official said that these 151 locations are ‘target spots’ where “advanced action” will be taken by the concerned agencies. A total of 49 such target spots fall under the North MCD, 31 under the South MCD, 25 under the PWD, 17 under the DDA, and 11 under the East MCD. Since the app collects embedded geo-coordinates along with the complaint, these target spots are specific locations – streets, colonies, parks and vacant plots.

Around 43.6% of the complaints registered between November 2020 and July 2021 fell in the illegal dumping of garbage category, followed by 17.5% in the potholes category, 13.1% in the illegal dumping of construction and demolition waste category, and 9.1% in the road dust category.

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