Govt body issues health alert, states air quality to deteriorate further
It appears that the fire at the Deonar dumping ground refuses to die. While Mumbaikars were hoping for an improvement in the air quality, after the fire showed signs of subsiding, a minor fire at the dumping round on Wednesday once again deteriorated air quality in Deonar and its neighbouring areas.
To make matters worse, an advisory issued on the website of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) states: “Health alert. Everyone may experience more or less health effects, avoid outdoor activity. It is advisable to use pollution masks.”
When this correspondent checked the website at 7.38 pm yesterday, Air Quality Index (AQI) at Chembur — which is near to Deonar — was at 364. And is expected to touch 367 today. Wednesday’s AQI for the city was 305 (very poor). The AQI is worse than Delhi’s AQI of 233. For the last one week, since the Deonar fire started, Mumbai AQI has remained between 300-400.
Demand for closing the dumping ground
The residents of Chembur and nearby areas held a protest march at 8 am from Panjrapole to Chembur Naka yesterday to demand the closure of the Deonar dumping ground. They have also complained to the Human Rights Commission and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in the matter and now plan to meet the CM. After a public meeting on Monday, a group of 200-300 people held a rally in Chembur demanding the closure of the dumping ground. The protest comes against the backdrop of the fire at the dumping ground last week that engulfed the city in smoke. The citizens have been demanding its closure for the past several years.
The protestors wore black T-shirts and surgical masks to cover their mouths as a symbol of protest. Protestors belonged to the Deonar, Chembur, Ghatkopar, Govandi areas. “Don’t the CM and municipal commissioner breathe the same air as we do? Then how can they be so callous about it? We have been breathing the polluted air for too long now. We demand the immediate closure of the dumping ground,” said Vandana Trivedi, one of the organisers. Trivedi informed that they now plan to hold another rally from BMC headquarters to Mantralaya. They will also meet the CM in the matter.
— Inputs by Tanvi Deshpande