A Cabinet sub-committee will study the pollution problems of eight areas identified as critically polluted industrial belts.
The state government made this announcement in the Legislative Council on Monday.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had identified Navi Mumbai, Chandrapur, Chembur, Tarapur, Dombivli, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik and Aurangabad, as highly polluted spots in the state.
“We will formulate an action plan for eight industrial areas with critical and severe pollution problems. We have also asked the CPCB for a clarification on the parameters on which these findings were based and the non-involvement of the MPCB [in the study],” said Minister of State for Environment, Sachin Ahir.
Hindustan Times had first reported on the CPCB report on January 15. The report had identified 88 critically polluted industrial clusters across the country of which eight are in Maharashtra alone.
HT had written about the Union Environment Ministry’s restrictions on clearances to all development projects in these clusters until the state takes steps to improve the situation.
Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Ramnath Mote, asked the government what it has done to tackle the problems pollution is posing, especially to people’s health.
“We do not think that the pollution in these areas is posing danger for the people staying in these areas. There is no direct relation or grave cases,” Ahir said. Shiv Sena MLC Deepak Sawant argued that the 2 lakh asthma cases that exist near the industrial area of Dombivli. “Are you waiting for people to get admitted to intensive care units to prove that pollution is causing health problems,” Sawant asked.
BJP MLC, Vinod Tawde, asked Ahir how pollution did not affect health if the particulate matter in the air in these areas has increased.
Ahir replied that the sub-committee’s plan will include all these factors. He also said the state has taken action against 32 establishments in Dombivli by serving notices on them.
MLC Hemant Takle said that the Maharashtra State Pollution Control Board should construct an independent study to check pollution.