Ova village at Kharghar is facing a major threat from the chemical waste dumped on a vacant plot, which is close to the village ponds.
The waste, which the villagers claim has been lying there for years. has already turned the water in the ponds blue.
Maharashtra Pollution Control Board authorities confirmed that more than 3,500 tonnes of chemical waste bags have been dumped on the plot.
“If you go close to the plot, your eyes start itching,” complained Jitendra Joshi, a villager. “I have already lost two of my buffaloes, worth Rs 90,000, after they drank the poisoned water here.”
Joshi claimed: “The authorities have simply turned a blind eye to the hazardous waste. I have seen it lying here for around eight years.”
The state pollution board officials claim they have started removing the chemical waste on Wednesday.
“I have visited the area and concluded that the chemical dumped there is hazardous,” said Madhukar Lad, deputy regional officer of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.
“As CIDCO, the nodal agency, owns the land we have instructed them to clear the area. The waste has to be disposed of scientifically to prevent harm to the environment. Since it is a large consignment, it will take time.”
Lad added: “We have registered a complaint with the Kharghar police to find out who dumped the chemical waste.”
Senior Police Inspector Kiran Patil said: “It seems that a chemical firm has dumped the consignment here around a month back. We are investigating the matter and will take action against those responsible.”