April 16, 2015 4:53:22 am
Rapping the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) for not collecting air samples in Chembur despite residents’ complaints of air pollution, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Board to pay Rs 20,000 to each of the applicants in the interim period.
“The In-charge Regional Officer of MPCB did not collect any air sample at the moment, nor was it analysed to record the findings. He ought to have collected relevant air quality samples so as to locate the source. It appears that MPCB has taken considerable time in forwarding communication to the concerned agency i.e. the Institute of Chemical Technology, without much reason,”stated the bench comprising Justice V R Kingaonkar and expert member Ajay Deshpande. “The MPCB RO shall collect samples of air quality as and when the industry is in operation and shall submit the report about quality of samples within two weeks of collection of samples,” the order stated.
This order comes after the NGT received the KEM Hospital’s report stating that various symptoms exhibited by residents of Ambapada and Chereshwar in Chembur, including skin and eye irritation, breathlessness, choking sensation in the chest and frequent sneezing, match the listed health hazards of the chemical toluene diisocyanate whose presence has been recorded in the air in the suburb.
Residents of Mahul and Ambapada villages had filed a case in the NGT against a container and chemicals firm for allegedly causing pollution.
Further, the NGT has directed an independent advocate to inspect the firm and prepare a report on how the company is handling chemicals, within four weeks.
According to the order, advocate Mahabal RB has to visit the villages Ambapada and Mahul in the evening along with officers from Tata Power Ltd, who shall be technically equipped with knowledge of relevant air quality monitoring while the firm is fully functional.
“The Commissioners also shall visit the places where the storage tanks are said to be placed and examine whether those tanks are impervious, or that capacity is yet available for storage of handing chemicals of the company. The company’s handling of chemicals shall be verified by the Commissioners in relation to nature of alleged repugnant smell, which is said to be spread out in the nearby villages and localities,” the order stated.
In June 2014, MPCB had found that Toluene levels measured over the terrace of residents of Ambapada and Chereshwar were 41 microgrammes per cubic metre (max) and 15.3 microgrammes per cubic metre respectively and maximum levels of Toluene ranged between 15.4 microgrammes per cubic metre to 83 microgrammes per cubic metre at RCF guest house, Pepsico main gate, BPCL, Sealord and Aegis Main gate and Tata Power in the vicinity.
“Observed monitoring results state levels of Toluene are quite high, but there is no ambient air quality standards specified for Toluene,” the KEM report had stated.
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