Construction sites violating BMC’s air pollution guidelines to be sealed | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Construction sites violating BMC’s air pollution guidelines to be sealed

Oct 26, 2023 08:00 AM IST

The new circular also mandates builders to deploy sensor-based air pollution monitors at construction sites and act immediately if pollution levels exceed the limit. To lessen the dust from construction sites, tin or metal sheets at least 35 feet high have to be erected around the periphery of under-construction buildings more than 70 metres in height

Mumbai: In a heartening move that will bring relief to a city beleaguered by construction pollution, the BMC mandated that construction sites violating its new air pollution guidelines would be sealed and a stop work notice issued to builders. The new guidelines were issued on Wednesday.

Mumbai, India – Oct 25, 2023: BMC Mist Spray Machine at Marine Drive to mitigate dust pollution mainly in areas, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, Oct 25, 2023. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India – Oct 25, 2023: BMC Mist Spray Machine at Marine Drive to mitigate dust pollution mainly in areas, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, Oct 25, 2023. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)

“We have been asked to close down projects that breach the rules without any warning notices,” said a ward assistant commissioner. “The civic chief in a meeting last Friday instructed us to directly videograph and shut them down.”

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The new circular also mandates builders to deploy sensor-based air pollution monitors at construction sites and act immediately if pollution levels exceed the limit. To lessen the dust from construction sites, tin or metal sheets at least 35 feet high have to be erected around the periphery of under-construction buildings more than 70 metres in height. The 35-feet-high rule applies to all construction layouts with an area of over one acre while those of less than an acre have to have fencing at least 25 feet high.

Additionally, all buildings under construction have to be compulsorily enclosed with green cloth, jute sheets or tarpaulin from all sides. The rule applies to all sites, including government ones. “All BMC worksites like bridges and flyovers shall have a barricading of 25 feet. All metro works above the ground shall be covered with a barricading of 25 feet. The construction site shall be covered with tarpaulin / green cloth /jute sheet. Smog guns and water sprinklers shall be used during the construction work as earlier announced,” reads the circular.

Debris, another dust monster prone to generating air-borne particulate matter, is also under the purview of the new rules. The rules mandate that water will have to be sprinkled on debris or earth material at all construction sites. Continuous sprinkling or spraying of water will have to be done during the process of demolishing structures, and all construction material and debris are to be stored in a dedicated area which is barricaded and fully covered with tarpaulin. The rules make it clear that construction material and debris are not to be dumped on public roads, footpaths and open areas as builders have merrily been doing.

Additionally, vehicles carrying construction materials have to be covered from the top and all sides so that construction material or debris pollution does not become airborne during transportation. They must not be overloaded in order to avoid spillage and must have valid PUC certificates. If found in breach of BMC guidelines, the vehicles are to be seized and impounded. All construction sites have to provide a vehicle tyre-washing facility at all their exit points and, significantly, all builders have to engage only those vehicles which possess a vehicle-tracking system.

These mitigation measures have to be mandatorily observed by agencies like the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), MHADA, MIDC, MSRDC, MMRDA, Airports Authority of India, the railways, government or semi-government authorities and private construction sites.

To stem dust pollution from roads, the BMC has been mandated to clean all major roads daily. “This work may be outsourced to ensure wide and fast coverage of all major roads in one month’s time. There will be a complete ban on open burning anywhere in the geographical area under the BMC, especially garbage dumping grounds and possible sites of trash-burning,” state the guidelines. The deadline for procuring sprinklers is 15 days while 30 days have been given for the procurement of smog guns.

All assistant commissioners in charge of wards have to deploy special squads to prevent illegal C&D dumping late at night. The transport commissioner will act against the overloading of vehicles, uncovered vehicles and vehicles spilling construction materials on roads.

Heavy diesel vehicles which are more than eight years old will be strictly prohibited in Mumbai. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has been asked to monitor air pollution from BPCL, HPCL, RCF, Tata Power and MIDC industries among others daily for the next one month and take appropriate action. The daily monitoring data has to be shared with the additional municipal commissioners of the island city and western suburbs.

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