Past few weeks I have been observing municipal employees in Hyderabad burning waste in open in the stretch between Road no 10, Jubilee Hills and the areas around the KBR park, my route for going to work. I see at least 10-12 heaps of waste burning just in this 4 km stretch everyday and that is just a small part of the larger picture across other areas of Hyderabad and other cities in India. Open burning constitutes up to 20% of overall air pollution in some of the big cities in India.

I am sure we guys from India are so used to such open burning of waste, that our brain has just stopped responding to the sight and the discomfort of suffocation caused by it. Many a times we just pass by a burning pile of waste holding our breath pretending that
we didn't inhale that smoke full of carcinogens, failing to realize that it is not just the momentary exposure which will kill us but the overall degradation of air quality in and around our locality, our workplace and the places we visit on regular basis. It is that daily silent dose which is doing the work as we speak.

The worst part is that the open burning of waste is being done by the employees of the municipal authority which is supposed to regulate the air quality in the city (posting the pics along).

For those who are not aware, typically smoke constitutes mainly of particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and carcinogenic dioxins/furans. Air pollution is a significant risk factor for various diseases including increased frequency of respiratory infections, chronic heart diseases, hypertension and lung cancer, according to the WHO. Apart from our health, our actions are also catalyzing climate change (read here how air pollution from Asia is affecting world's weather).

Of all the causes of air pollution, I guess it is relatively easier to prevent open burning of waste. Even then, I am not aware of any regulation against the open burning of wastes in India neither are there any awareness campaigns or at least some advertisements in mass media which can change this behavior of people around.

Hope somebody takes a notice of this!

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