NCR property with health hazards of toxic air

The builders of Delhi NCR are cribbing against the construction ban by the NGT every now and then. They are least bothered with the future of the business in this part of the world due to toxic pollution that they are contributing to.

The skylines of Noida are mostly hazy with dust, pollution and smog. Noida, part of Delhi NCR, happens to be the largest property market of India in terms of sheer size.

The Air Quality Index is way beyond what World Health Organisation calls toxic air. As a matter of fact, the Central Pollution Control Board’s air quality index, which shows the concentration of poisonous particulate matter known as PM 2.5, stood up to 900 this year; about 25 times the US government-recommended level of 35. Average PM 2.5 level has been around 450 post Diwali.

People nevertheless are buying property in this part of the world.

“Living in gas chamber.” “Destined to capital punishment.” “Paying taxes to get toxins.” These are some of the reactions of people living in this part of the world.

One constant factor in the grievances of the residents here is – blame to builders. After all, construction dust has been a major source of pollution and smog across the NCR.

What can people do? It’s about livelihood in arguably world’s most polluted urban zone. Most of the home buyers can’t even afford property prices in other major cities of India. Developers, on their part, blame it to everyone, including factories and NGT, but to themselves.

The NGT, on its part, wakes up only when the Air Quality Index crosses the alarming proportions, say 450 plus PM2.5 level. The knee jerk reaction and construction ban every now and then hardly helps.

Statistics really scare

Car fumes, industrial emissions, and smoke from farms are causing nearly 50 million people of NCR to suffer

Satellite imaging showed more than 3,000 incidents of stubble burning in neighbouring states of Delhi, defying Supreme Court orders 

Half of lung cancer patients are non-smokers

India is home to the world’s 14 most polluted cities, with Delhi the sixth worst, as per the World Health Organization 

Toxic air caused 1.24 million deaths in India in 2017, or 12.5% of the total, according to a study published in Lancet Planetary Health

No one seems to have got comprehensive solution and all the measures, whether by the government, NGT or the civic agencies are actually knee jerk reactions.

Despite repeated attempts by Track2Realty, none of the developers with projects in the worst hit areas are ready to speak on camera. All of them are rather defiant that the construction ban is unfortunate disruptions and adversely affects the project timelines. The moot point nevertheless is can the builders in their collective consciousness shrug off the responsibility now? Do they wake up only when the NGT slaps the sector with construction ban? Can’t they switch to responsible urbanisation for future generations?These questions may not bother them but what they can’t afford to ignore is whether or not the housing sector in Delhi NCR would be paralysed if the city is not made worth breathing and worth living?” Unfortunately, there are more questions than what any of the stakeholders would like to answer with some honesty.

It’s not that there are no global examples where the public private participation has worked wonders in safeguarding the environment. But in the context of Delhi NCR all that they have done is attention diverting blame game between the Central Government and the State Governments of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. The seriousness of the government could be easily assessed with the headlines management through ill-conceived Odd Even which is more odd than even…

Ravi Sinha

Track2Realty is an independent media group managed by a consortium of journalists. Starting as the first e-newspaper in the Indian real estate sector in 2011, the group has today evolved as a think-tank on the sector with specialized research reports and rating & ranking. We are editorially independent and free from commercial bias and/or influenced by investors or shareholders. Our editorial team has no clash of interest in practicing high quality journalism that is free, frank & fearless.

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