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The air we breathe in Mumbai

  The slow and steady change of Mumbai

    Mumbai sea link

 Bombay has changed and isn't the same as before. The first indication is the rapid disappearance of open spaces. Playgrounds have been swallowed up by buildings and roads. Schools are allowed to come up without playgrounds. Children are the worst affected. There are no trees for them to climb. No open spaces for them in which to play football or even cricket. Some end up watching TV or playing computer games.

 South Mumbai still has a few open spaces —the Azad Maidan, Gowalia Tank, Cross Maidan, Oval, among many others. But the North Mumbai, and the scars of Mumbai are stark and the pavements are choked with hawkers, illegal stalls and rubble.

  There are few parks and the few patches of green that survive have stags hanging around. The only place where a couple can be safely 'alone' is sadly a cinema hall. Dark corners and lonely streets are quite unsafe. The police too has changed. Instead of being a professional force, famed for its investigative prowess, it has become a peeping-tom force.

  Eventually, in anger and disgust, people howl against criminals, but are too weary, or indifferent, to the manner in which sick surroundings often 'promote' more sick minds. The softer lines of a youth's face have quickly morphed into wrinkles of cynicism and rage.

 Mumbaikars health threaten by Carcinogens in air

The air in Mumbai is laden with toxic substances and is found to be more polluted than the air in Beijing. But nobody seems to bother, least of all the government.

Even as the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2013 report warns us that the air we breathe is contaminated with cancer-causing particles, air pollution in Mumbai continues to rise at an alarming rate. It is most visible in winter when the coastal city is enveloped by thick smog — the most telling sign of progressive deterioration, now even backed by the IARC, which finds Mumbai’s air worse than Beijing’s.

Blue Mormon as the Maharashtra state butterfly  

Maharashtra government on June 22, 2015 declared Blue Mormon as the Maharashtra state butterfly. Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to have a Blue Mormon as state butterfly.

Mumbai Diary

Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project
India's maiden bullet train corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will cost nearly Rs one lakh crore and the first train can run in 2024 if work begins in 2017, according to a final feasibility report on the project prepared by the Japanese governmental agency.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) in its report submitted to the Railway Ministy today envisages a reduction in the travel time on the 505-km long corridor between the two western cities to two hours from the existing over seven hours.

 The air we breathe in Mumbai

  The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s annual yet-to-be-released Environment Status Report (ESR)  2012 Data shows that the city’s air contains high levels of toxic pollutants such as ammonia, lead, nickel and nitrogen dioxide whose ill-effects can range from sinusitis to respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and even cancer, while the noise pollution can lead to high blood pressure and even heart disorders.

  The increasing number of vehicles on Mumbai’s streets - 451 new vehicles get registered in the city every day - explains the rise in air pollution levels, said experts. Mumbai’s air pollution standards index (PSI) shows that pollution levels rise after the monsoon and peak in December.
  “Several toxic gases such as nitrogen dioxide are emitted during traffic congestions because vehicles don’t move and burn more fuel for less distances,” said Dr Rakesh Kumar, chief scientist and head, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Mumbai. “Also, owing to the massive construction work, including infrastructural projects and buildings, the levels of substances emitted in the air are higher.”
 On  14th July, 2010 Chlorine gas leak from the Sewri industrial area on land owned by the Mumbai Port Trust.  Nearly 76 people were treated in hospital  and 10 people were in intensive care after the gas leak Mumbai was poisoned by Chlorine gas leak from the Sewri industrial area.  
.Again our beautiful sea is continued to poisoned by oil spill and chemicals. Two Panamanian cargo ships - MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia 111 - collided on August 7, 2010  off the Mumbai  coast causing an oil spill from one of the vessels. Oil continued to spill for several days even as anti-pollution operations are being carried out by the Navy and Coast Guard to  neutralise the oil. "Polluter must pay and polluter will pay," the Union environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh told the Rajya Sabha  on August 17, 2010. Also reported that nearly 100 containers that fell into the waters following the collision between two merchant vessels off the Mumbai coast

  Mumbai is in the middle of a huge transition. New towers are coming up every 500m, new modes of transport, like the Monorail and the Metro are being laid, and mills and chawls are being brought down for multi-storied complexes. The key equipment for construction is heavier and faster modes of transport: excavators, trailer cranes, dumpers and rollers, a senior transport department official said. 
  Latest statistics from Maharashtra's transport department state that Maharashtra has made a jump from 3,78,873 of JCB vehicles (excavators, forklifts, cranes and diggers) in 2000 to 8,45,617 in 2009, which means an addition of more than four lakh vehicles in nine years. The machines are classified under the category of articulated and multi-axle vehicles. In Mumbai, there are as many as 16,023 of these machines, with 9,196 in south Mumbai alone, 4,735 in the western suburbs and 2,092 in the eastern suburbs. Additionally, 24,061 machines registered in Thane, 17,075 in Navi Mumbai, and 3,886 in Dombivli and Kalyan are working at various sites in the city.

A step to reduce pollution and ease traffic congestion in Mumbai

  Congress president Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the first bridge to be built over the sea in India  on July 1, 2009. in Mumbai. It  was built to ease traffic congestion and to cut traveling time between the western suburbs of Bandra with Worli  over the Arabian Sea. It has eight lanes and aims to reduce journey time from 45 to six minutes. The sea link is being hailed for reducing the travel time from Bandra to Worli to seven minutes from the current 40. This could help save fuel and reduce pollution. An estimated 50,000 vehicles are set to ply on the eight-lane wonder. The city has more than a million vehicles. Officials say the bridge is a way to ease Mumbai's traffic problems.
  Mr Jairam Ramesh  announced recently that the setting up of new private helipads would not be permitted infuriating many, but also earning the support of other citizens. The Maharashtra government had sought clearance for four helipads to be used in emergencies as well as for security purposes. Mr Ramesh has said he will give permission only for government-owned helipads but not privately-owned ones to be built on rooftops of highrise buildings. At present, some businessmen have their own helipads while many others are interested in acquiring them. 

India’s first monorail in Mumbai

 The trial run of Rs 2, 460 crore monorail project will be done on a 108 metre track at Wadala. The proposed route of this monorail is between Jacob Circle and Chembur. The Monorail Mumbai will be a substitute of local trains and other road transportation. According to the sources, initially, 14 Monorails with four coaches each with the capacity of 500 passengers .

  The Mono Rail is free of air and noise pollution. It will also help save all the fuel needed for public and private transport. And the vibration-free Mono will save Mumbaikars’ time too! Once completed, the Mono rail will soon take the city towards reduced pollution and carbon emissions. The Mono Rail does not require any fossil fuel and remains free of air pollution and as it runs on a narrow 0.8-meter beam with the help of rubber tyres it makes very little noise.

 Monitoring bio-medical waste for disposal

   Now all vehicles carrying hazardous bio-medical waste for disposal in Maharashtra will be monitored with global positioning system (GPS) devices fitted on them, vo/a pollution board official said. The system has been designed and implemented for the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) by TATA AutoComp.  Mobility Telematics. MPCB is the first state-level pollution control authority in India to use the sophisticated tracking device to check proper collection and disposal of bio-medical wastes to prevent environmental damage and health hazards, the official claimed. MPCB has fitted the GPS devices on more than 140 of its trucks to trace their movements online from a control centre.

 Mumbai pedals for green cause 

  'Burn fat, not fuel' was the message that participants were trying to spread as Mumbai witnessed it's first ever Cyclothon on February 21, 2010. With over 7,000 participants at the Mumbai Cyclothon 2010, the event boasted of six different categories and each saw a decent flow of entries. "Finally, youngsters are inspired to take this sport seriously," said one of the senior participants.



    Northern coastline of Maharashtra has higher levels of pollution

  The northern coastline of Maharashtra, which, according to a recent study done by the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) for the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), has higher levels of pollution than any other coastline in India. The major reasons for industrial, domestic and port-based pollution along the northern portion of Maharashtra's 720-km-long coastline are rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and a lack of control over the dumping of chemicals and pollutants into the Arabian Sea, especially in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, says the study.
  "The higher levels of hazardous chemicals in inshore waters along the northern Maharashtra coast as compared to the southern coast suggest high organic inputs due to anthropogenic activities, such as sewage, leading to severe deterioration in environmental activity in many instances," says the survey. 

   Mumbai as top polluted city


   Mumbai is now the second largest coastal city in the world and India's premier port. The new Mumbai, located close to the largest chemical industry zone in Asia, is exposed to high levels of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals released by these industries.
  According to WHO, Mumbai is next to Kolkata and Delhi as one of the top ten most polluted cities in the  world  In India, the urban agglomerations are restricted to a selected few cities, which have attracted migration. Mumbai being the trade and commercial capital of India, has been the destination for all types of population groups such as literates, illiterates; skilled and unskilled; and persons from all walks of life. The population of Mumbai grew by 38 per cent during 1971-81 and, 20 per cent during 1981-91 to reach 10 million. Currently, the Mumbai’s population is standing at 18 million making it one of the most populous metropolises in the world. With this increase in population there has been an increase in number of vehicles and industrial activities aggravating of air pollution levels. With this growing peril of air pollution there is a serious threat to the health of its citizens (World Bank). 
  A recent report on air pollution and its sources in mega cities  by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and sponsored by the Central Pollution Control Board  reveals just how deep the pollution in Mumbai is. Construction activity, including paved and unpaved road dust is responsible for as much as 38% of the emission load of particulate matter (PM) in Mumbai. Power plants are the second biggest culprits accounting for 20.99% of air pollution, followed by landfill open burning at 10.84%. In the vehicular category, heavy duty diesel (HDDV) vehicles contribute to 3.42% of emissions.

Hazardous. Industries in the city

  There are approximately 40,000 small and big industries in the city, of which 32 have been classified as hazardous. Industries in the air-polluting category include textile mills, chemical, pharmaceutical, engineering and foundry units. Process emissions and those from fuel consumption, constitute the main sources of air pollution. Major air pollution sources include a giant fertilizer/chemical complex; two oil refineries and a thermal power plant, all based in CHEMBUR, a suburb on the eastern coast of Bombay (World Bank).
  The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGB) monitors the air quality within the city limits; MCGB has measured ambient air quality regularly at 22 monitoring stations in Mumbai for over 15 years. These monitoring stations measured the air pollutant levels according to who prescribed guidelines and methods.

  Air Quality Monitoring

  The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) latest Environment Status Report (ESR) for 2009-2010, released on September 3, 2010 shows that the amount of cancer-causing particulate matter in the air has increased alarmingly compared to last year. The report shows that the presence of benzo(a)pyrene, a highly carcinogenic chemical released in the air, in the city has risen eight times from its minimum level of 0.13 µg/1000m3 in 2008-2009 to 1.09. 
 The maximum level has increased five times, from 0.54 µg/1000m3 in 2008- 2009 to 2.56. µg/1000m3 is a unit that measures the concentration of particulate matter in a defined quantity of air. “The annual average of B(a)P levels has exceeded the Central Pollution
Control board standards of 1 µg/1000m3,” the report pointed out. “These carcinogens can cause cancer of the breathing tract and the voice box as they are absorbed by the body while breathing,” said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck cancer surgeon with the Tata Memorial Centre in Parel. 
  Benzo(a)pyrene is part of a class of chemicals called polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and is emitted from tar, automobile exhaust fumes and smoke from combustion of organic materials such as tobacco, wood, plants and coal, among other materials. “A large number of studies have documented links between benzo(a)pyrene and cancers,” the BMC report said.  

  Air pollution causes asthma

   A recent BMC survey in May 2010 showed that deaths due to respiratory tract infections have increased by 20.17 per cent, pushing even heart Disease and Cancer  aside. The new killer diseases are bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders (COPD). Not surprising, given the dust, pollution and erratic lifestyles. Also, WHO ranks Mumbai among the top 10 polluted cities in the world.  
 "General Asthma levels in the city are anywhere between three to five per cent whereas in polluted areas, that increases to 10 per cent," says Dr Amita Athavale, head of (EPRC) at KEM Hospital. 

  Proposed Jaitapur nuclear plants

 The proposed Jaitapur nuclear plant in the state of Maharashtra would be one of the biggest nuclear plants in the world with a total of six reactors providing 9,600 megawatts of power. But the Jaitapur programme has attracted large protests from locals and environmentalists who are concerned about the loss of land, the danger of radiation and destruction in the ecologically-sensitive Western Ghats region. Now Japan's struggle to avert a nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011 has led to new calls for a planned huge atomic power plant on the western coast to be scrapped. 




  City's waste dumps sites

  Mumbai authorities have purchased 42,000 litres of perfume to spray on the city’s enormous waste dumps at Deonar and Mulund landfill sites after people living near the landfill sites complained of the stench. 
   Everything gets dumped there; old food, rotten fish, rotten vegetables, plastic bags, glass and metal items. Around 500,000 people live near the two dumps, which were once beyond the city limits but have been caught up in the sprawl of one of the world’s fastest growing urban areas. The council has spent 4.8 million rupees on enough scent to last for 10 months, where more than half the population live in slums.

  Most densely populated urban area in the world

  Mumbai’s population of 18 million has more than doubled in the past 30 years, making it the most densely populated urban area in the world. In March, Mumbai was ranked seventh in a list of the world’s 25 dirtiest cities published by Forbes magazine, a worse rating than even Baghdad. India’s capital, New Delhi, was listed 24th.  Mumbai’s council now has plans to close part of the dumps and use the methane the rest generates to help solve the city’s power crisis.   
  The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) is setting up 46 air quality monitoring stations in the state as part of its campaign against air and water pollution. The programme, covering 27 urban centres, is called Pollution Assessment Monitoring and Surveillance (PAMS) and is aimed at helping MPCB take stringent steps while dealing with cases of water and air pollution, an MPCB official said.    

 Enhanced noise pollution ensures Mumbai never sleeps

 Mumbai is among the noisiest cities in the world, which perhaps explains why this city never sleeps. Quality of life in the city has taken a severe beating in the last five years owing to high levels of pollution — noise, air and water — with noise wreaking the most havoc and putting Mumbaikars at increased risk of disturbed sleep patterns and high blood pressure.   

  Disposal of e-waste

   Mumbai generates about 23,000 tonnes of e-waste every year, but disposal has been very disorganised so far,” said Sanjay Khandare, member secretary, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board. Three years ago Mumbai generated only 11,000 tonnes of e-waste. It now generates the most E-waste in the country. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has come up with in its latest environmental status report (Sept. 2008)  indicates that the end of the rains will bring even worse times for people suffering from diseases of the respiratory tract.

  Panel chalks out plans to curb pollution

  The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has launched a series of short- term  plans as well as long-term surveys to curb contamination in critically polluted regions of Maharashtra, including Dombivali and Navi Mumbai on Februray 1, 2010. This follows a study by the Central government which calculated a Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) for 88 key industrial clusters in India. 

  Offshore wind power projects in Mumbai coastline

   Wind power projects are the latest and among the fastest growing sectors within global energy today. A long coastline, low installation costs and ready local availability of key raw materials have all made Mumbai a favorite destination for offshore wind power, with global majors such as Areva, Siemens and GE queuing up to explore opportunities in the country.  

  A lush green flamingos home reduced to a rubble

  A 60-acre plot, one the most beautiful birdwatching spots in Phunde village, few km away from Uran around Mumbai reduced to a rubble in just two yeras. Once it was a lush green visual delight with flamingos and around 130 species of birds making it their home, is reduced to a rubble after the State approved its take-over under Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (NMSEZ) in 2005. Destruction of this wetland started around two years ago when truckloads of sand and cement and stones dumped here and  completely killing every blade of grass. 
  Suddenly on February 19, 2011, Government stalled the acquisition of the plot.This plot was acquired under the ambitious SEZ project promoted by India ’s top industrialists. However, State Revenue Department was unable to acquire nearly 16,900 acres of land spread across 45 villages of Pen, Panvel and Uran in the stipulated time due to protests from villagers, and hence, the project has been stalled. The State gained nothing, villagers are still not sure about the status of their land, and in that fight, Mumbai lost a beautiful spot in its neighbourhood.
  Now the State has promised to revive the spot and recreate the wetland. Apart from doing everything it can, the Government wants corporate help for the project.

  Mithi river has been reduced to a filthy nullah

   Once a beautiful Mithi river of Mumbai is now reduced to a filthy nullah. Now a report of the Central Pollution Control Board shows that Maharashtra has the largest number of polluted river water stretches in the country. Environmental experts are worried that it is not only industrial pollution, which is responsible for degrading the quality of water in state rivers. The rapid urbanisation across the state is a major culprit as well. "Domestic sewage is a source of pollution besides industrial and other sources,'' said an official from the union ministry of
environment and forests.   


  Ganesh immersion in Mumbai

 Ganesh Chaturthi the most important festival honors to Lord Ganesha (श्री गणेश)  being celebrated ten days this year from August 29. This festival culminates on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi (September 7}when images of Ganesha are immersed in  convenient body of water. The Ganesh idols, varying from gigantic ones measuring several metres tall to tiny,  taken out for immersion into the Arabian Sea at various locations, creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and artificially-created immersion sites..

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