Five days after HT reported that another ready-mix-concrete (RMC) plant had been set up at Aarey Colony in Goregaon, the state pollution board issued a show-cause notice to the plant’s operators.
Officials from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said that prima-facie, the cement plant was set up to provide construction material for the proposed Metro 3 project at Aarey.
“On our visit to the site, we found that the plant is near the proposed Metro car shed site. Since the plant operators have not taken permission from MPCB for production, we issued the show- cause notice,” said a senior official from the pollution board, who visited the site on Thursday. “We have given them 10 days to respond. If they fail to provide a convincing reply, a closure notice will be issued.”
HT reported on December 28 that an RMC plant had been set up at the city’s green lung along the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, Andheri (East). This overruled a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order banning all construction activities at Aarey, including the construction of the Metro 3 car shed by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), till the next hearing scheduled for January 5.
The official added that the plant had not started production. “There was a RMC plant at the plot that shut shop after we issued a closure notice. However, the plant operators sold the plot to another operator. Since there is violation of NGT orders, no production will be allowed at the site,” he said. “We will check with the civic body and Aarey authorities whether any approval was issued by them.”
Environmentalists were happy the pollution board’s action. “This is a good development as the plant is located within eco-sensitive zone area of Aarey,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, NGO Watchdog Foundation that filed the complaint against the plant to MPCB. “It needs to be shut at the earliest. The air pollution caused by the operation of this plant will affect big trees.”
“MMRCL has made it a policy to ensure all environment laws are violated. They have no clearances to do any work, yet work has commenced in violation of their own terms submitted in court under their environment assessment reports,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director, NGO Vanashakti.
Construction dust, a major source of pollution: Studies
A 2010-11 National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) study about the sources of pollution in Mumbai saw an overall 8% contribution from only construction activities.
“Over the last five years, construction activities have increased especially in Mumbai and Delhi. The construction industry has to be made liable for proper collection, disposal and recycling of the disposable material or this source of pollution will continue to wreak havoc,” said Anumita Roy Choudhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi.
According to a study by the Environmental Policy and Research India (EPRI), construction machineries such as ready mix concrete (RMC) plants emit a toxic cocktail of nearly 40 carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances
The plants are major sources of PM2.5 that lodges deep in the lungs and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a key ingredient in the formation of ground level ozone and urban smog
“Dust from construction is the major source of pollution in Mumbai. We observed that at these plants and construction sites water is sprinkled only once a day,” said Avick Sil, regional director, EPRI.
What is an RMC Plant?
Concrete that is manufactured in a factory or batching plant in large quantities, according to a set recipe in 10-foot-long containers, and delivered to a work site by a truck mounted with in–transit mixers that keep rotating to keep the cement wet. On an average, one RMC plant produces 80 to 100 metric cube concrete per day from one plant.