Responding to the high level of pollution that is being witnessed in the city, Kolkata Police has imposed a ban on waste burning within its jurisdiction till 31 August.

The notification that was issued today stated that “any person contravening this….shall be punished as per existing law” and has directed the Officer-in-Charge of the police station to “be vigilant to prevent burning of waste materials under the jurisdiction of the police station”.

Presently, waste burning is one of the biggest sources of air pollution in Kolkata and the increase in particulate matter in air has led to a rise in respiratory distress and other long-term physical ailments. Despite this, waste burning continues to remain all pervasive in the city.

The ban has come into force from 3 July to 31 August or until further order, read the notification. Degradation of air quality started with the burning of crackers during Kali Puja last year. The situation turned worse in November and continued throughout the winter. Infact the pollution levels in Kolkata had even exceeded that of Delhi.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT ) had on 23 December 2016 imposed a ban on burning of waste in open places and announced a fine of Rs 25,000 on each incident of bulk waste burning. Burning of waste was prohibited even on landfill sites.

“For each such incident, violators, including project proponent, concessionaire, any person or body responsible for such burning, shall be liable to pay environmental compensation of Rs 5,000 in case of simple burning, while Rs 25,000 in case of bulk waste burning,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had ordered.