Aaditya Thackeray writes to Centre about rising air pollution in Mumbai

Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday wrote to the Centre on Saturday to raise the issue of Mumbai’s air pollution. He cited the city’s extensive construction activities and the absence of adequate supervision to manage them.

“In the past 6 months, the air quality in Mumbai has consistently been rated as “Poor” to “Very Poor” on the AQI (air quality index). Other cities in Maharashtra are also posting concerning air quality numbers,” he said.

Tremendous amount of construction in city

The entire city is undergoing construction, creating a tremendous amount of dust and debris, much of which is left unnoticed and unregulated. He stated that actions are required to assist the Urban Development Agency and local bodies in understanding the combined effects of construction on the city’s environment.

“Construction activity in Mumbai is widespread and lacks effective supervision,” the former state environment minister said.

Accordint to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Mumbai’s air quality index stood at a “moderate” 159 on Saturday.

BMC sets up panel to suggest dust control measures

Flagging rising air pollution in Mumbai, the city civic body recently set up a panel to suggest dust control measures.

The city has refineries and fertiliser plants on its eastern coast, and the round-the-clock industrial activity there is having a direct influence on the air quality throughout the city, Thackeray added.

According to him, residents who live close to places like Mahul or Wadala experience the effects of bad air quality and foul odour.

Thackeray advised the Center to assess and move these plants outside of the city.

Mumbai’s global reputation at stake

He also asked to direct the relevant stakeholders in the city’s civic administration to establish a climate cell as was suggested by the policy plan.

With G20 events being held in the city, its global reputation is at stake, he said. Most importantly, the health of the citizens should take precedence over political differences, Thackeray said.

He said 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.

He also said that authorities should be directed to install mobile sensors across the city, saying the existing sensors do not cover its entire area.

This would provide additional insights for addressing the air quality problem and help reconcile data authenticity of AQI currently measured, he said.

Thackeray also raised the issue of Aarey Metro car shed, a bone of contention between the then Uddhav Thackeray government and the current Eknath Shinde-led government.

“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 alleged. 

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