Clean up Mumbai's air

For over a decade, residents living near gold melting and polishing units in the city’s jewellery hub have been complaining about the toxic fumes from factory chimneys that permeate the air they breathe, but apparently, their complaints have been falling on the deaf ears of the BMC and state government.

A front page report in this paper yesterday, highlighted the concerns of residents who say they are fighting to get the factories shifted out of the vicinity because of the concern for their children’s health. They claim that they have spent a lifetime inhaling these fumes, but, do not want their children to face the same fate. They dream of a better, cleaner future for their kids, like all parents do.

The report states that every morning, Bhuleshwar residents begin their day with chemical fumes entering their houses from chimneys right outside the windows. The chimneys belong to gold smithy units.

Civic authorities and the government need to work to shift these factories from the residential hub. The fumes are extreme health hazards and the units cannot be located in the same place these citizens reside. Appeals to the BMC and authorities have fallen on deaf ears, which is unfortunate.

Residents and residential associations are not flush with funds to take this up legally. There is also the question of a time crunch and people usually cannot sacrifice their time taking on this issue in the courts.

Surveys have shown that there are respiratory problems here and, of course, in extreme cases these can lead to cancer, which means urgent action is needed. It has already been a decade since this tussle is on, and it is time for these pollutants to move. We also live in a city, with heavy air pollution thanks to vehicular traffic. Compounding this will be doubly harmful for residents. With real estate prices being what they are in the city, residents too, do not have a choice to move elsewhere.

Spare a thought for the health of the people who live in the proximity, clamp down now.

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