Former state environment minister and MLA Aaditya Thackeray writes to MOEF&CC demanding urgent interventions to tackle Mumbai’s air pollution problem
Aaditya Thackeray is MLA from the Worli constituency
With Mumbai seeing no respite from the effects of rising air pollution, former environment minister Aaditya Thackeray has written a letter to Bhupendra Yadav, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF&CC), alleging that in the absence of a full time environment minister and lack of sensitivity towards public issues, the state government has worsened the crisis.
Thackeray, who is MLA from the Worli constituency, has also made policy suggestions for tackling the crisis in Maharashtra. The air quality index (AQI) in Mumbai and Maharashtra have been deteriorating over the last few months, with AQI levels ranging from poor to very poor.
In his letter, he highlighted a few policy suggestions. “Construction activity in Mumbai is widespread and lacks effective supervision. The entire city is undergoing construction, causing a large amount of dust and debris, much of which is left unattended and unchecked. Measures are needed to help the Urban Development Department and local bodies understand the consolidated impact construction has on the city’s environment. After this impact has been assessed, the ‘polluter pays’ principle should be applied,” Thackeray said.
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He also pointed out that the refineries and fertiliser plants on the city’s eastern coast, and round-the-clock industrial activity there is having a direct impact on the air quality of Mumbai. “In 2022, Mumbai launched its Climate Action Plan... I request that you direct relevant stakeholders in the administration to establish a climate cell as was suggested by the policy plan,” he said, adding that the health of the citizens should take precedence over political differences. “Climate change has had a serious impact on the city’s weather patterns, changing the speed and direction of winds, and causing polluted air to remain within the city instead of flowing towards the coast. I request you direct the relevant authorities to install mobile sensors across the city, as the existing sensors do not cover the entire city. This would provide more insights for addressing the air quality problem and help reconcile data authenticity of AQI currently measured.”
Thackeray alleged that the current administration in Maharashtra is focused on monetising the city’s green spaces. “The healthy Aarey forest has been compromised against the city’s will and with vengeance.” He also pointed out how the government has failed to provide basic necessities. “Air purifiers have become a necessity because we are not able to ensure fresh oxygen to our citizens. We have to act on this with utmost urgency.”