Ban on burning leaves violated, environmentalists warn of air pollution

SRINAGAR: Ban on burning leaves in Srinagar is being violated by both people and employees of government departments, which according to the environmentalists will cause air pollution.
Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has imposed ban on burning of leaves and twigs. Despite the violation, theyare yet to take any action.
The environmentalist here told Kashmir Reader that burning of leaves releases large amounts of airborne particulars – which includes fine bits of dust, soot, harmful particles and toxic gases aggravating air pollution.
“Incessant burning of leaves also leads to the formation of smog which affects visibility. Similarly, increased production of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide will also contribute to global warming. Carbon monoxide blends with the hemoglobin in our red blood cells, and reduces the amount of oxygen in our blood. When exposed to large amounts of smoke, a person can collapse and die in a short span of time,” he informed.
He added that patients with asthma, emphysema, lung disease and heart disease are most susceptible to the ill-effects of smoke.
People burning leaves said that this is their source of income. “The burning of chinar leaves is our source of income during winters. Every year we burn leaves and twigs in and then sell charcoal in the market,” said Gulzar Ahmad.
“We collect these leaves from different parts of Sringar city and then burn them as this is our source of income. We make around 70 bags and then sell them in the market.This type of charcoal is locally known as “panehchene”,” he said.
We are doing this business since decades what can we do without this, this is the source of warmth during the harsh winters and we sell the major portion of it in the market to earn livelihood and rest we keep for our own use. We are already suffering for last three month due to the current situation, if we don’t burn these leaves and twigs then what we will earn,” he further said.
Another local Rayees Ahmad said, “People are not aware about the ban imposed by the SMC.We are doing this from several years and we don’t know about the ban. If they have imposed ban, we will continue to do this as it is our source of income.”
Commissioner SMC Khursheed Ahmad Sanai told Kashmir Reader that they have already issued an advisory for implementing a complete ban on burning of leaves in the city.
“Violators will be dealt strictly under the rule of law,” he said, adding, “Our workers have taken these fallen leaves to Achen dumping site, where it gets segregated into bio and non-biodegradable waste. After decomposition, it can be used for fertilizers in various public gardens and parks in Srinagar city.”
“During the morning and evening hours, people and employees in different government departments are seen burning fallen leaves and SMC has already taken cognisance of that. We are again issuing the notice regarding this and after that we will take strict action against the violators,” Sanai said.

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