Citizens form Clean Air Action Hub to help BMC monitor Mumbai's AQI | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Citizens form Clean Air Action Hub to help BMC monitor Mumbai's AQI

Jun 10, 2024 08:36 AM IST

The discussions revolved around the science of air quality, the BMC’s construction and demolition waste management guidelines and solid waste management

MUMBAI: In the wake of the BMC publishing its first ever Climate Budget report with a provision of 10,000 crore this week, a group of environmental organisations have got together to support the civic body in its efforts to clean the city’s air through the Mumbai Clean Air Action Plan (MCAAP).

Citizens form Clean Air Action Hub to help BMC monitor clean air
Citizens form Clean Air Action Hub to help BMC monitor clean air

The collective, which calls itself the Mumbai Clean Air Action Hub, had its first meeting on June 1. Attendees expressed diverse expectations ranging from exploring collaborative opportunities to establishing a pressure group similar to Bengaluru’s Round Table for solid waste management and envisioning policy changes. The environmental groups include Asar, Watavaran, Awaaz Foundation, Conservation Action Trust, a member from IIT Bombay, Walking Project, Green Communities Foundation, Govandi Citizens’ Group and others.

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Vilas Gite from Asar, a startup that works on environmental issues, told HT that the network would work on creating awareness and understanding MCAAP and other important aspects related to air quality. “The focus group will take up key issues like construction debris and demolition waste, which are major contributors to the deteriorating air quality,” he said. “We will work closely with the BMC, which has been taking up the air pollution issue very seriously.”

The discussions revolved around the science of air quality, Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) (plus key lessons learned from Delhi), MCAAP, the BMC’s construction and demolition waste management guidelines and solid waste management. The group will work on building its capacities with regard to the technical aspects of air quality and simultaneously taking on-ground action.

A hyperlocal approach was agreed upon, where specific areas such as Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Dadar and Chembur would be mapped and scoped. Each member will take responsibility for each pillar of work such as awareness, policy research, advocacy, and/ or working with the government on technical solutions.

Ideas like conducting Air Quality (AQ) awareness sessions with schools, colleges and resident welfare associations and the leveraging of existing active citizens’ groups were discussed. All the members agreed to adopt a solutions-based approach to create opportunities for small wins.

“In our discussion on particulate matter (PM), we agreed that PM 2.5 instead of PM 10 needed to be prioritised in terms of our communications to the public,” said Faiyyaz Shaikh from the Govandi Citizens’ Group. “Some participants suggested that the hub could conduct a technical analysis of PM 2.5 and submit it to the government as part of our advocacy work. The group also agreed to ask the government to publish air quality data publicly, and make issues like fund utilisation under NCAP (National Clean Air Programme) more transparent.”

Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz Foundation which takes up a lot of noise pollution issues, said that air pollution was an allied subject. “Many of the sources of both are similar like construction sites,” she said. “Some of the solutions are also similar. I have been working on firecrackers, and they have both noise and air pollution. The voice is amplified when these issues are tackled jointly.”

Abdulali said her role would be advocacy, research and creating awareness. “I have undertaken research on firecrackers, garbage-burning and construction,” she said. “I will hope the group will help me amplify the message, and I will support it in its endeavours.”

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