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Ashish Shelar: MVA is responsible for Mumbai’s air pollution crisis

Updated on: 24 January,2023 12:39 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Ashish Shelar said that more than 50 per cent of the city pollution is due to the sudden surge of construction activities, increased vehicular emissions and changes in wind speed this winter

Ashish Shelar: MVA is responsible for Mumbai’s air pollution crisis

Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar. File Pic

Amid a dip in Mumbai’s air quality, MLA and Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar has written to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and urged the state government to form a commission for air quality management.

Shelar said that more than 50 per cent of the city pollution is due to the sudden surge of construction activities, increased vehicular emissions and changes in wind speed this winter. And hence, the government needs to intervene and take immediate measures to prevent the further deterioration.

The Mumbai BJP president wrote a letter to the Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and has urged the government to set up an enquiry and fix accountability on errant officers.

He further said that according to the environment experts, the financial concessions provided to the real estate sector during the tenure of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government have led to the uncontrolled rise in construction projects being undertaken simultaneously across the city. Also, the building proposal and environment department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not pay any attention to the environmental hazards that all these construction activities would pose on the air quality of Mumbai.

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“Holistic approach is needed to tackle the pollution crisis across Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Unfortunately, the BMC’s environment control cell has been found lacking in this regard,” Shelar said.

“If all the government agencies team up and work towards this common cause, it will address Mumbai’s rising pollution crisis and will make our city once again a better place to live in,” he added. 

In the letter, Shelar gave suggestions on measures that could be taken to resolve the pollution crisis in Mumbai.

"Like the NCR, the government of Maharashtra must also form a Commission for air quality management headed by the MMRDA to monitor the pollution levels and also to formulate graded response action plans to tackle the pollution levels in Mumbai and the adjoining MMR. The BMC must set up the long pending construction and debris recycling facility and also mandate the construction sector across the MMR to abide by the pollution control norms. This must be made compulsory for the municipalities in the MMR as well," Shelar suggested in the letter.

He also suggested that burning of dry waste and illegal burning of waste materials must be stopped. Illegal furnaces to extract metals must be immediately stopped in Malwani, Jogeshwari and Behrampada areas. The illegal waste disposal and vehicle scrap industry working in CST, Santacruz and Kurla must be immediately stopped.

"Bakeries, illegal farsan factories and other eateries in the entire MMR using wood and coal must be asked to shift to using CNG or PNG. The BMC must allocate Rs 100 crore to help them fund this transition through a soft loan repayable over seven years. All crematoriums in Mumbai must be shifted to electric or PNG fired furnaces. BMC must fund the development of a green public transport system in Mumbai. The BEST must be directed to shift to 100 per cent electric vehicles over the next 18 months on wet-lease basis so that there is no financial burden on either the BEST or Mumbaikars," Shelar wrote in the letter.

He suggested that a committee must be set up by the BMC to draw a roadmap to make Mumbai a carbon neutral city by 2035. It must be noted that the NMMC is already working in this direction. "As per the orders of the Mumbai High Court, the BMC must create a dedicated anti-demolition police force to oversee the illegal construction industry that is trying to grab every inch of land, even encroaching on the mangroves. Also, the transport and logistics sector within the MMR must be mandated to use electric vehicles and must be provided attractive concessions in road tax for large scale adoption," Shelar said in the letter.

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