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Green norm violations: Reward for citizens sharing information

Kolkata: The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has adopted a unique initiative to encourage people to act as a watchdog for the board to curb pollution.

The WBPCB will now reward people, who will provide correct information about activities that contribute to pollution.

"The provisions for lodging complaints with us against acts that lead to environmental pollution have been existing since many years. But, we now want to make more common people vigilant and responsible. We are soon opening up a window in our Paribesh app for providing a platform to common people to share information with photographs about violations of environmental norms and also geo tagging the location. If the same is found to be true on verification, we will not only take steps against the violator but also reward Rs 500 as an incentive to the informer," a senior official of the WBPCB said.

The complaints may be of various nature like manufacture and use of plastic less than 50 micron, running illegal firecracker manufacturing units, stubble burning, bursting of sound crackers and brick kilns functioning without installing zigzag technology etc.

"It is impossible on the part of WBPCB alone to keep an eye on such violations across the state. So, we feel that this sort of incentive (Khabor Dao, Inam Pao) will instil a sense of competition among people and will strengthen our hands in the fight against pollution," Rajesh Kumar, Member Secretary of WBPCB said.

A senior PCB official said the urban local bodies across the state had taken measures like imposing fines on shopkeepers for using plastic carry bags less than 50 micron. But, to curb plastic pollution it is necessary to put a leash on manufacturing units. Similarly, there are only 50 cracker manufacturing units in the state that are registered with the board.

But in a meeting with the Firecrackers Manufacturing Association that took place before the Kali Puja last year, the latter had informed that there are 1 lakh such units across the state.

"We want all these units to get registered so that we can regulate them properly and take action against any violations. We want to seek information from the common people about such units that are running illegally," the

official said.

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