The air Mumbai breathes is getting more and more polluted but the authorities have admitted that they have no real solution to the crisis and the steps taken by them are limiting and inadequate.
In fact, if the state and civic body are to be believed the best answer to reducing air pollution rests with citizens.
According to the authorities, simple steps such as shifting to public transport, opting for car pooling or complaining about dust emanating from construction sites could go a long way in tackling the issue.
The Hindustan Times had, on Sunday, reported that as per the civic body’s annual Environment Status Report, the emission load of Mumbai had gone up from 588.57 tonnes per day (tpd) in 2009-10 to 597.12 tpd in 2010-11. The auto exhaust emission has also increased to 391.26 tpd -- from 383.69 tpd last year – comprising 65% of the total emission load polluting the air.
Experts say that this rise is due to the increase in vehicular congestion and construction activities. Reacting to HT’s report on rise in air pollution, state environment secretary Valsa Nair-Singh said that better monitoring and encouraging the use of public transport would help in reducing traffic congestion, thus bringing down the pollution levels.
Referring to the pollution on construction sites, she said, “Stringent guidelines to check air pollution are in place. In fact, developers who fail to comply with those cannot be granted the permission to begin construction work. However, the monitoring is very low. No developer has, so far, been served a stop-work notice for violating the environment norms.”
Officials from the building proposal department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) feel that unless locals file complaints, no action can be taken. “The new flyovers and public transport systems such as the metro and monorail should help bring down the vehicular traffic,” she added.
Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials stated that effective monitoring was not being carried out in the city. According to the revised National Standards in 2009, MPCB should monitor construction sites on 12 parameters, but the department has equipment for only six of them.