Cement shed poses sack of woes for locals

Out of breath owing to impurities in the atmosphere from cement bags lying in the open at a shed between Jogeshwari and Goregaon on the eastern side, locals finally approached Mayor Sunil Prabhu and requested him to find a solution to the problem. 

“For years now, this cement shed has been causing problems to us. We have agitated twice and then approached the mayor,” said Raman Jha, a resident of Ram Nagar, which is the closest to the shed.

Health hazard: A truck unloads cement bags at the shed between Jogeshwari and Goregaon. Experts confirm that constant exposure to cement particles can lead to respiratory disorders

Locals claimed that the cement bags were being stored at the shed in light of the numerous impending corporate constructions in nearby areas and at Oshiwara station.

Taking cognisance of the complaints, Prabhu recently wrote to the railways and Maharashtra pollution control board (MPCB) authorities, asking them to take action and curb pollution. On May 15, Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai too met WR officials, requesting them to look into the matter and make alterations to the shed. “We have written to MPCB and WR officials, as locals are suffering because of pollution created by the cement shed. Hence, we demanded that railways remove the structure,” Prabhu said.

Experts acknowledge that constant exposure to cement particles can lead to respiratory disorders.

“Proper handling of cement sheds is a major issue, which the authorities need to tackle. Proper technology needs to be introduced to prevent impurities from spreading into the air,” environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal said.

Dr Suresh Rang, chest physician at Jaslok Hospital, said, “In areas where construction work is on, levels of cement particles in the air are high. Patients from such areas don’t respond to ordinary drugs and have to be put on inhalation steroids, as smaller fragments cause more irritation.”

He added that patients with a history of respiratory disorders are the ones who suffer the most, as cement particles are known to trigger asthma and cardiovascular ailments. 

WR authorities claimed that except for the location where the cement bags were unloaded, the adjacent areas were pollution-free.

“We have a letter from the mayor, who also approached MPCB. If there is any problem then we will surely look into it and talk to concerned agencies,” said S Silas, WR divisional railway manager (Mumbai).

Officials said the shed was being operated as a transport point, but they have no issues closing it down if orders to that effect come.  

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