RESIDENTS OF Ambernath have approached the police and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) alleging that private chemical firms in the locality have been dumping chemical waste in ditches dug in farmland in the area. The residents’ group claimed to have sent the agencies videos and photographs of the alleged violations.
According to the Ambernath Citizens’ Forum (ACF), private chemical firms in the nearby MIDC areas have been using farmland in Karavale village to dispose their waste. “The Karavale village near Haji Malang Chowk is being used by the companies to dispose their untreated waste. Drums and gunny bags full of chemical waste are being dumped. The villagers have been told that these are harmless substances… they have been paid to dig ditches and dispose the bags and drums’ contents,” said Satyajit Burman, a ACF member.
He added, “We have made videos of the same and approached the police and the MPCB, but no one has paid any heed.”
ACF volunteers, who have been keeping vigil near the village, said the companies send their waste in earthmover machines and trucks. The earthmover digs shallow trenches and dumps the waste once every couple of days. Sometimes, drums and gunny bags are dumped on the ground. “The entire area has started stinking,” said Vijay Kumar, a volunteer.
Burman, who has written to the MPCB and the police multiple times, said: “The MPCB officials came to check the spot but put the onus on the police to file an FIR. Meanwhile, the police asks us to talk to the pollution control board. The soil quality has deteriorated and the villagers grow vegetables on it. They have told us that the dumping of waste has been going on for at least a couple of years. One can only imagine the level of contamination in the vegetables.”
MPCB authorities said that they have written to the DCP of the area to file an FIR. “My colleagues are working on the matter, but what I know is that a substantial amount of chemical waste was found in the area and we have started investigating. We have also written to the police to take necessary action,” said MPCB Chairman Sudhir Shrivastava.
Meanwhile, the Hill Line police, under whose jurisdiction the area falls, also said investigations have begun. “We have received complaints and are investigating the matter,” a senior officer said.