‘Chembur-Trombay is city’s prime nitrogen oxide hotspot’: Greenpeace study
The maximum amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in the city come from the Chembur-Trombay area — which has a power plant, several petroleum refineries and a fertiliser factory — according to a study by environmental group Greenpeace.
Nitrogen oxides are a group of toxic gases that contribute to the formation of aerosols and ozone that can worsen respiratory conditions and cause other health issues. They are formed from the burning of coal and oil as well as emissions from vehicles and off-road equipment (such as diesel generators).
The study, which used satellite data to analyse such emission levels across India between February 2018 and May 2019, also listed Chandrapur and Nagpur in Maharashtra as hotspots for NOx emissions.
One of the worst-affected areas within the Chembur-Trombay zone is Mahul, a heavily industrialised area, where nearly 7,000 families have been demanding they be shifted out for the past one-and-a-half years. Relocated in 2017 as they were living too close to the Tansa pipeline in the city’s eastern suburbs, they have complained that Mahul’s air has been polluted by factory emissions and have caused them ailments such as respiratory issues, kidney problems and lung infections.
“Power plants and refineries are big emitters of NOx and need to upgrade their pollution control devices or install better technology in order to protect public health,” said Sunil Dahiya, campaigner, Global Air Pollution unit, Greenpeace.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, however, said Mumbai’s annual NOx and sulphur dioxide levels are within safe limits. “Industries are mandated to ensure strict compliance in the Chembur area, and chimneys fitted almost as high as 280-plus metres emit pollutants mostly towards the sea and not residential areas. Vehicular pollution is being reduced through more emphasis on public transport and implementation of clean fuels,” said Sudhir Shrivastava, chairman, MPCB.