‘1 year after Dombivli MIDC road turned pink, no drop in pollution’
A year after a road in Dombivli Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) turned pink, there is still no change in the pollution situation in this area, reveals a study by NGO Vanshakti.
As per the reports of the water samples collected and tested from various drains in MIDC by the MPCB, the water appears to be in different colours – blackish, light brown and light green. The NGO also claimed that the water had a stench of ammonia and sulphuric acid.
Vanshakti visited several locations in Dombivli MIDC on February 9 and also raised a complaint to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Kalyan division, regarding rampant pollution caused by the industries in the region.
Stalin D, director, Vanshakti, said, “The pollution situation has not changed in the MIDC area of Dombivli as the drains have bad odour, which affects the air in the nearby areas. The drain water also has different colours. If this situation continues, it will be difficult to even pass through Dombivli MIDC.”
Last year, a road along the storm water drain near tempo naka, phase 2 of Dombivli MIDC turned pink, after the silt cleaned from the drain spilled on the road during transportation.
Activists and residents claimed chemical effluents in silt have turned the road to pink colour. This also got the attention of CM Uddhav Thackeray, who visited the road and directed the factory owners to follow norms or shut the units.
The MIDC claimed that the work on storm water drains, which is one cause of pollution in the area, was supposed to be completed in May 2020, though is extended to 2022.
Sanjay Nanaware, executive engineer of Dombivli MIDC, said,” The work is expected to be completed by next year. Half the work is over and the remaining half is being undertaken.”
The MIDC took up the work of storm water drains in May 2019, 32 years after it set up a base there. The MIDC is spending ₹22Cr, in which it will cover around 35km-40km storm water drain line, which passes through most of the roads in Dombivli MIDC region.
An officer from MPCB, who did not wish to be named, said,” We have collected the samples from the drains. It is true that the water changes colour while there is a stench in the air. This is due to the on-going work on the storm water drain. However, the pH level recorded is between 5 and 8, which is not dangerous. We have asked the authorities to speed up the work.”
Action plan still a distant dream
An action plan was prepared on November 11 last year followed by the directions from the Supreme Court on November 5.
The action plan emphasised on several steps that were asked to be completed within a span of two to seven months. These included setting up vigilance teams of officials of MPCB, MIDC and local civic bodies, installation of pH sensor-based alarm system at major hotspots, CCTV by MIDC at hotspots, to conduct regular surprise visits and penal action, effluent conveyance pipeline network by MIDC, installation of GPS tracking system for tankers, MIDC to monitor tanker movement, impose blanket ban on tanker movements between 6pm and 6am, and MPCB to conduct periodic audits of factories. The action plan includes 25 points that were supposed to be adhered.