A south Mumbai bakery was slapped with a notice by the civic body on Monday for using wood-burning ovens that release toxic smoke into the air.
The bakery has 15 days to switch to a more environment-friendly oven, failing which the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it will take the case to court.
The BMC’s move follows complaints from the residents of a building opposite the Fernandes bakery at Bhalero Marg in Gaiwadi, between Girgaum and Charni Road. The residents said the bakery’s chimney has been releasing black smoke five times a day for the past three years.
On May 16, officials from the BMC’s environment department visited the site and declared the bakery was polluting the area.
The department then submitted a letter, dated May 27, to the health department of BMC’s D ward. “During the site visit, it was revealed wood is being used as fuel in the bakery. The existing fresh-air system and exhaust system provided for the abatement of pollution nuisance such as smoke, heat and smell from the activities of Fernandes bakery is not adequate,” the letter read.
D ward’s ward officer Kshirsagar D told HT the health officer of the ward acted on the BMC’s letter and issued a notice to the bakery on Monday. “The bakery must comply with the notice and change their system to reduce pollution. The bakery cannot use wood as fuel.”
The bakery has 15 days to act, he said. “Otherwise, action will be taken under relevant clauses of the MMC Act 1888 and a case will be filed in the Shindewadi court for non-compliance of the report,” said Kshirsagar.
While residents said the bakery’s chimney releases smoke five times a day, the owner of the bakery CB Lal said the chimney works only twice every day. “The residents in the area have been harassing us for quite some time now,” he said.
“Senior citizens and children are affected by the smoke. It becomes health hazard to leave our windows open,” said Nikunj Shah, one of the residents.
Among the most hazardous chimney emissions is carbon monoxide (CO), which affects breathing in humans by reducing the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen.
“Carbon monoxide is formed at specific hotspots where combustion takes place. A main source is the burning of wood at crematoriums and bakeries. However, it is not illegal to burn wood at these places,” said Rakesh Kumar, chief scientist, National Environment Engineering Research Institute.