Mumbai civic polls: In F-North ward, the grass is not green
Once known as green lung of the island city, the historic Five Gardens, Hindu Colony and Parsi Colony in the F-North ward breathe poison now because a large number of vehicles need to pass through Sion to reach the eastern and western suburbs, or the island city, and take detours through these areas...mumbai Updated: Feb 13, 2017 13:19 IST
Keki Limboowalla, 85, one of the oldest residents of Parsi Colony, Dadar, rues the polluted air that has now engulfed the green belt.
Once known as green lung of the island city, the historic Five Gardens, Hindu Colony and Parsi Colony in the F-North ward breathe poison now because a large number of vehicles need to pass through Sion to reach the eastern and western suburbs, or the island city, and take detours through these areas.
Air pollution seems to be a major concern for the citizens of the F-North ward — home to many senior citizens.
Residents blamed the deteriorating air quality on ill maintained open spaces, which could have absorbed the increasing nitrogen levels to keep the air clean.
“It is a known fact that open spaces in the region are not maintained. Citizens are rarely taken into confidence when any work is carried out on Five Gardens. Any changes to these open spaces affect us but we are rarely consulted,” said Limboowalla, who has been residing in the area since 1932.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has pointed out the deplorable condition of the air through its station near Sion Hospital.
In January 2012, the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) level was 101.53 microgram per cubic metre, marginally above permissible limit of 100, whereas in January 2017 it was recorded at 190.45 cu.m, way above the permissible limit.
Similarly, five years back sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide was below the permissible limit of 80micrograms. Now, nitrogen dioxide is 89.68 microgram per cubic metre.
Apart from Five Gardens, the ward has three other gardens — Hooper garden and Homa Vazir near Parsi Colony and Karve garden in Wadala, but citizens complained that none of them have the sufficient number of trees.
“The BMC has spent Rs2 crore on each of these gardens but have not planted a single tree in it. No tree was planted at Five Gardens in the past two years either. The corporation fails to replace the trees that are cut down during monsoon,” said Nikhil Desai, Matunga resident.
Though there hardly seems to be any vision that will help maintain the city’s open spaces or control air pollution, the local politicians paint a rosy picture. “The gardens in our ward are very well maintained. In addition, we will also take measures to bring down air pollution after consulting citizens,” said Mangesh Satamkar, Shiv Sena candidate and the ward chief.