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The price of growth

Environmental pollution has reached alarming proportions today. The subject is being debated all over the globe and measures are being taken to control it. The participation of world leaders, including our Indian Prime Minister at the Paris Summit, shows the significance of the issue. While such a global environment issue is receiving attention at the apex level, however, no steps are being taken at the grassroot level to tackle the problem.

At the time of construction, plan sanctioning authorities take in to consideration the prescribed access roads, setbacks, waterlines, drainages, waste disposal requirements, and fire safety measures.

But no mention is made of the pollution control regulations, and even it is referred to, it is solely for academic requirements.

Only the builders of large complexes seem to be paying attention to pollution regulations, but other small-time builders seem to give it a miss.

Sources

of pollution

We need to analyse the origin of pollution at construction sites and how it affects the environment. Legal/administrative controls to prevent such pollution need to be in place.

Every stage of construction, right from the excavation stage, while transporting construction materials (cement, sand, bricks and steel), while cutting and grinding of materials at the site, and while erecting and dismantling of scaffoldings, results in environmental pollution.



The solution

The following measures should be taken:

l Site security norms must be formulated by the architects and principal contractor/s.

l Dumping of materials should be avoided.

l Avoid using semi-finished or taking up finishing work at the site. Switch to prefabricated materials instead.

l Proper enclosure of the construction area is a must.

lSprinkling water on bricks and sand at the time of transportation reduces dust.

l Wet cutting of steel, tiles sould be done.

l Use modern equipment to lift and handle materials.

Legal duties

of contractors

It is important that the architect, principal builder-developer, and the contractor are legally bound to take adequate steps to ensure good health and safety of not only the workers, but also the inhabitants of the neighbourhood.

The Construction and Design Management (CDM) Regulations implemented in the U.K. and other countries are legal measures worth emulating.

Major regulations in the CDM are:

l Design requirements: design, construction and transportation

l Management of labour, material movement, health, and pollution

l Site security for labour, and residents in the area

l Standards for raising and dismantling of scaffolding

l Use of dust suppressants

l Management of wind flow

l Emergency procedures for medical facilities

The way ahead

Apart from the massive ‘housing for all’ programme, the development of infrastructure such as roads, highways, metro rail, waterways and ports, is also important. The smart city programme has also accentuated construction activity.

Efforts are being taken to reduce pollution across various sectors. But high-powered building and construction activities need to be controlled by regulating the activities of small, medium and large-scale builders and contractors. Only then will pollution control plans be effective in the long run.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 6:46:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/The-price-of-growth/article14001623.ece

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