Environmental NGO Chintan’s research revealed a much ignored contributor to Delhi’s winter pollution: security guards burning solid waste to keep themselves warm in the bitter cold. The idea then, if pollution is to be battled, is to ensure this source of carbon pollutants is properly stemmed. It is an idea that has found favour in the Urban Labs Innovation Challenge, an effort of Delhi government and University of Chicago to improve the air and water quality in the capital.
Chintan’s studies in south Delhi colonies established that burning of municipal solid waste (MSW) resulted in roughly 10% of PM2.5 (fine, respirable particles) and PM10 (coarser pollutants) in winters, with 17% of it attributable to the fires lit by security guards.
According to the study, up to 3% of the capital’s daily generation of 8,390 tonne of MSW was being openly burned in this manner, creating 2,000 kg/day of PM10 and around 1,800 kg of PM2.5.