Polluted air from factories is choking us, say Mumbai residents

Also allege apathy on part of BMC, MPCB to take action against industrial units in the are that are causing air pollution

mumbai Updated: Oct 06, 2017 09:28 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Chandivli residents during the protest rally on Monday.

Residents of Chandivli, who have been complaining about the air pollution caused by the factories in the area and the apathy exhibited by the authorities in resolving the issue, held a rally on Monday to drive the point home.

About 250 residents took out a protest rally and alleged that the factories operational in the area were illegal.

When contacted, civic officials said they are verifying the claims made by the residents.

The civic officials said they had written to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), requesting it to act on citizens’ complaints. The latter said their sub-regional officers had been asked to survey the area.

“We have already initiated action and are investigating whether these industries have licence to operate or not. We are also checking whether air pollution norms are being followed. If we find any violation, closure notices will be issued subsequently,” said a senior MPCB official.

Besides taking to the streets, the residents also started a signature campaign to shut down the polluting industrial units. They also plan to file a public interest litigation (PIL) soon.

Residents said they formed Swachh Chandivli group after repeated complaints to MPCB and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) failed to yield result in the past six years.

The group has now written to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“We have written to the chief minister requesting his intervention because the air pollution is now taking a toll on our health. We are confident that we will get justice and our voices will be heard in the court of law,” said Lavita Powell, another resident.

Another resident SL Dhingra, professor at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, said the industries do not operate as per government working hours prescribed in the Factories Act, 1948.

“All these small industrial units are flouting health and safety norms. There is also a possibility of them catching fire, which could be disastrous for not just the nearby slum pocket but even the adjoining Nahar International School, which has about 1,000 students and staff,” he said.

There are 150 industrial units in Khairani Road, Jangleshwar Mahadev Mandir Road, Saki Vihar Road and Andheri -Kurla Road, and pollution is affecting housing colonies such as Nahar Complex, Sangharsh Nagar, Lake Homes and Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) in the area.

“The chemical-laden smoke emitted by these illegal industrial units is causing severe health challenges, especially to children and senior citizens. Acute breathlessness and persistent lung congestion have become common among the residents of Chandivli,” said Chandra Prakash Sharma, Nahar Complex resident.

He added, “Despite numerous representations and correspondence with the authorities from 2011 onwards, no concrete action has been taken.”

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 09:28 IST