KOLKATA: For most people living in a ‘green city’ the acrid smell of burning hay and grass mixed with plastic and garbage would be unimaginable. Yet, this is exactly what New Town residents are being greeted with for the past few weeks when they open their windows in the morning for a breath of fresh air. Stubble burning on vacant plots has now become a serious issue as it is heavily polluting the air in the township. With winter due in a few weeks, this has raised concerns over health complications.
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“We have informed the police and the pollution control board. This needs to stop,” said Samaresh Das, chairperson of New Town Forum and News (NTFN) a local NGO.
NTFN’s citizen and animal welfare team on Wednesday lodged a complaint at Eco Park police station over the deaths of four red munia chicks a few days ago and the growing air pollution due to stubble burning. Locals said this has been happening for the last few years.
“Plastic and garbage are also burnt along with the stubble. This produces very toxic smoke and can have dangerous consequences, including infliction of respiratory ailments. A mass-awareness drive in association with the police has become very much necessary,” said Pranab Das, an advocate and resident of Uttara Tritiya housing complex in New Town.
New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) chairman Debashis Sen said, “We are involving locals, NGOs, the management of Eco Park and the police to form vigilance teams to stop this.”
Doctors said that the smoke from stubble is very harmful for those who have respiratory problems. “This smoke can aggravate the condition of asthma and COPD patients and render them more vulnerable to infections. Exposure to this smoke for long can permanently damage lungs of even healthy people,” said pulmonologist Dhiman Ganguly.