NEERI and Mumbai First come together to guide Mumbai towards cleaner air and clearer skies

In the wake of increasing air pollution and degrading air quality, Mumbai First along with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) organised a half-day roundtable discussion on November 5

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Mumbai is a megacity with an estimated population of 12.44 million (2011 census) which is projected to reach up to 13.18 million by 2020. Over the years, the city has seen economic growth through industrialisation and urbanisation, which has led to the emergence of air quality issues as one of the major concerns impacting the quality of life. Therefore, in order to address the debacle, Mumbai First and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) came together and arranged a half-day roundtable discussion on November 5. 

Recently, a study conducted between 2005 and 2015 by National Ambient Air Monitoring Program (NAMP) with coordinated efforts from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) or State Ambient Air Monitoring Program (SAMP), it was revealed that the increased levels of particulate matter concentration have been higher than the prescribed limits. 

The discussion titled as ‘Pseudo Stifling: Mumbai & Mumbaikars: 'Championing for Cleaner Air and Clearer Skies', was conducted in three sessions, Public & Private Infrastructure Development, Vehicular Emissions, and Informal Garbage disposal and Health hazards respectively. With the collaboration of citizens and think tanks along with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) officials, the panels from the three sessions held an elaborate dialogue upon the issue, its prevalence and its solutions.

In case you may be wondering what is particulate matter,

Particulate matter (PM) is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air. Particles in the air are formed by either direct emission, for instance when fuel is burnt and when dust is carried by wind or by indirect emissions, like when gaseous pollutants previously emitted to air turn into particulate matter.

As per the study, the majority of PM has been transmitted into the air in Mumbai through resuspended dust and industries. Meanwhile, CPCB had listed several cities in India where PM levels are non-compliant with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and have accordingly, directed State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) to develop actions and implement them to control the air pollution. Amongst the seventeen cities in Maharashtra, Mumbai has also been added on the list.

However, while the measures are under implementation, it is necessary for the people to take active participation in the process.

No amount of dumping grounds are going to be enough until we change our ways. Even if we segregate the waste and treat it at its source, without proper cooperation from the government, the initiative towards a cleaner and better India cannot be achieved. Therefore, people should take an active role in the practice,” said environmentalist M.K. Stalin.

Air pollution is one of the most prominent issues of an urban centre and without necessary steps to deal with the issue, the problem will repeatedly persist with increased danger. Henceforth, the march towards clean air and clear skies must always go on.

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