Kharghar residents take to the streets to protest against air, water pollution

Demand close monitoring of polluting industries, air and water quality in Taloja MIDC

November 27, 2018 12:38 am | Updated 12:38 am IST - Navi Mumbai:

Leading from the front:  Kharghar residents and their children at the Anti-Pollution March on Monday.

Leading from the front: Kharghar residents and their children at the Anti-Pollution March on Monday.

Thousands of Kharghar residents took to the streets on Sunday to protest against water and air pollution in the area. Arjun Garad, a Kharghar resident, said, “We have been facing the hazards of pollution for a few years due to untreated effluents from the Taloja MIDC entering the Kasadi river. This pollution is resulting in health problems mainly in children, pregnant women and senior citizens. Sector 10 of Kharghar is the worst affected.”

The residents claimed that though various non-governmental organisations, individuals and political personalities from Kharghar had been taking up the issue with the authorities, there has been no action taken till date.

Expression of anger

Suresh Nair, a resident, said, “Due to continuous negligence of the authorities, residents with their families have been compelled to come out into the streets for this Anti-Pollution March to express our anger. We want the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to identify industries in Taloja MIDC and nearby areas that are responsible for this environmental crisis and monitor air and water quality and hazardous gases in Taloja MIDC.”

The residents have also demanded surprise visits of field officers with notices and action. “If the authorities fail to take the necessary action and resolve this issue in the stipulated time line then the people of Kharghar will be compelled to do a Jan Andolan,” said Leena Garad, president of Kharghar Forum, a social organisation.

Kharghar Forum, which conducted the protest, sent letters to the Deputy Mayor of Panvel City Municipal Corporation, the CIDCO chairman, CEO of Taloja MIDC and chairperson, Women & Child Welfare, PCMC.

Ms. Garad said, “Most of the industries in Taloja are using bromide chemical and releasing it with a density that cannot mix with the air, particularly in winter when the air is heavy due to fog. MPCB has to identify such industries and should run vans to monitor air quality and hazardous gases in MIDC.”

The rally, which started from Sector 10, extended to the Sion-Panvel road in Kharghar. The protesters were carrying a banner depicting three monkeys and had named each authority after a monkey.

Ms. Garad said, “CIDCO is the first monkey that keeps its ears closed. It has developed the node but is not listening to our voice and demands. The second monkey, which has shut its eyes, is not seeing the gases it releases, represents Taloja’s industries. We need industries for development and employment but not at the cost of polluting water and air, making it difficult to survive. The third monkey, which has kept its mouth shut, is MPCB. This body has been assigned by the government to speak up when industries flout norms and indulge in pollution. We need to wake these monkeys up.”

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