The state environment department has also written a letter to top cops and civic chiefs in Mumbai and Pune to take action against those found selling chemical colours , plastic bags as balloons and toxic colours.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Minister of State for Environment Sachin Ahir said, “We have written a letter to Mumbai and Pune BMC, Mumbai and Pune Police Commissioners and Food and Drugs Department.
They should start taking strict action against those producing chemical Holi colour and selling plastic bags as balloons. We have also formed task force along with the officials from Maharastra Pollution Control Board.
We will start a drive at factories and places where these toxic colors are manufactured. Strict action will be taken against those found flouting norms.”
The state environment department plans to raid places where chemical colours are being manufactured. In a letter issued to the concerned departments by Ahir, it has been stated that in the past few years chemical colours used during Rangpanchami have led to skin allergies and infections of the throat and eyes. Last year, 235 people from various parts of Mumbai were admitted to hospitals after mistakenly using a chemical dye to play Holi. All showed symptoms of vomiting, breathlessness and skin rashes. This led to the loss of one life.
The environment department has requested that people use only organic colours and save water. “We know that the state is facing a drought situation and so we appeal to the people to save water and use organic colours,” added Ahir Toxic colours have chemicals ‘mercuric oxide’ for red powder, rhodamine B for pink, chromium Iodide for orange, auramine for yellow, copper sulphate for green and lead for black colour. Use of these colours can lead to skin cancers, temporary blindness, vomiting and breathlessness. MiD DAY had also reported BMC facing flak for allowing sale of water balloons in which the corporation had said the sale of water balloons couldn’t be stopped.