While no city from Maharashtra figured in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) list that had 16 Indian cities among the world’s 30 most polluted, the state has recorded 84% of offences related to air pollution in the country in 2015, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Of the 50 cases registered across the country under the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, 42 were from Maharashtra, which booked 80 people from the state. In 2014, the state also recorded the second highest number of offences at 13 after West Bengal was the highest at 24.
According to WHO, cities such as Gwalior, Allahabad and Delhi were ranked second, third and eleventh-most polluted in the world. However, states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi did not record a single offence. West Bengal and Rajasthan were the only two states that recorded four offences each in 2015.
Officials from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said the major reason for air and other environmental violations in 2015 was 95% to 98% due to industries spread across different parts of the state.
“Owing to a large number of violations by these industries, the numbers can be directly attributed to increased vigilance and better enforcement in the state,” said P Anbalagan, member secretary, MPCB. “Over the past year, more than 1,200 violations under air and water pollution norms have been filed with the Central Pollution Control Board. This year also we have been filing at least one case per month.” Anbalagan added that regular pollution monitoring and strict guidelines has led to a substantial decline in levels of sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) across the state.
Maharashtra also had the second highest number of violations under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 with 46 cases while Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 234 cases in 2015