City’s Clean Air Plan is cloudy, lacks coherence, say experts

NGOs discuss recommendations, plan to send them to CM

Published - December 13, 2019 01:23 am IST - Mumbai

Several NGOs working in the field of air pollution came together this week to discuss recommendations to improve the city’s air quality. These recommendations will soon be sent to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

The seminar was organised by the Conservation Action Trust (CAT) and Waatavaran, with the chief aim being to discuss the Mumbai Clean Air Plan submitted by the MPCB to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Under the National Clean Air Action Plan, Mumbai is among one of the 122 cities identified by the CPCB to reduce air pollution by 20% to 30%.

The consultation was attended by experts from different sectors connected to air quality, citizens’ organisations, activists and academicians in an attempt to facilitate society’s engagement with the government to demand cleaner air for the city.

Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment, said Mumbai’s Clean Air Plan has plenty of limitations. “The plan lacks coherence and appears to have been drawn from different reports without reference or attribution. There is a disconnect between the narrative and actions suggested,” she said.

The consultation was divided into four parts, each dealing with a different aspect of pollution.

The panel on transport recommended that the plan should have been built on Mumbai’s existing mobility infrastructure and an integrated approach of restraining private transport growth. It also said the plan should have addressed options like walking and cycling to move away from diesel vehicles.

The panel on air quality data insisted on the clarity of monitoring stations and their locations, and that Continuous Emission Monitoring System data should be made public so industries can be held accountable.

The industry panel discussed how 22% industrial emissions are from the Tata Power Plant, but the plan does not talk about steps to address this. It also touched upon the absence of Mahul in the plan.

The panel on construction raised questions on who will be held responsible for bulk emissions from construction and demolition work.

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