Activist to BMC: Stipulate continuous monitoring, display of air quality in under-construction buildings

Calls for monitoring of transportation of debris, garbage to reduce air pollution

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | April 24, 2023 | Mumbai


#BMC   #climate   #air pollution   #environment   #Mumbai  
(GN Photo) picture for representative purpose only
(GN Photo) picture for representative purpose only

With Mumbai’s AQI worsening to 300 in recent days, in a letter to Sanjeev Kumar, additional municipal commissioner, climate and anti-noise activist Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz Foundation, has brought the attention of the civic body to acute sources of pollution like improper disposal of garbage, construction debris and activities on construction sites to control air and noise pollution.  

With more than 11,000 construction sites at present in Mumbai including private and infrastructure buildings, permission for all are given by the BMC with specific measures for air pollution control.

In her letter, Abdulali says that measures to implement air quality control are rarely implemented in practice. “Air quality is not monitored on a regular basis and it has been acknowledged by the BMC that construction sites have played a major role in our worsening air quality; the increased pace of construction in Mumbai is largely responsible for the dramatic increase in pollution measured by AQI in the year 2023.”

She has urged the BMC to stipulate continuous monitoring and display air quality on every under construction building site through use of low- cost monitors indicating when air quality exceeds safe limits.

In addition to these, she says, citizens (whose health is seriously impacted by the adverse effects of air pollution) can monitor individually through a citizens science initiative using low-cost air quality meters.

She has urged BMC to encourage citizens’ participation in monitoring their own health with individual data collection through the use of air purifiers in their homes to alert them against their exposure to unhealthy air.

“NGO’s, ALM’s or other citizens’ groups can partner such initiatives to institute a robust citizen-led monitoring network and complaint mechanism to mitigate the acute problem,” she says.
 
For noise pollution from construction sites the activist has suggested installing noise meters at builders’ cost along with continuous display of on-site noise levels.
     
In March, municipal commissioner IS Chahal had issued a health advisory to control rising pollution levels in the city of Mumbai. You can read a report on it here: http://www.governancenow.com/news/regular-story/mumbai-air-quality-dips-bmc-swings-into-action

Further, Abdulali says that air pollution increases when construction debris is carried on open trucks to disposal sites. “Often, it is dumped on illegal sites including mangroves and is sometimes mixed with other garbage including plastic and household waste. Burning garbage dumps often catch fire and create air pollution either accidentally or deliberately. Monitoring of transportation of debris and garbage to reduce air pollution from these sources are urgent,” she says.
 

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