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Use of coal in industries around Mumbai could be one of biggest contributor to pollution, says study

Factories in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) burn two million tonnes of coal every year, the report released in February, highlighted.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 14, 2021 12:51:50 am
coal pollution MumbaiFactories in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) burn two million tonnes of coal every year, the report released in February, highlighted.

The massive use of coal in the industries situated around Mumbai could be one of the biggest contributor to pollution in the city and its surrounding areas, finds a study by Delhi-based non-profit organisation Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Factories in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) burn two million tonnes of coal every year, the report released in February, highlighted.

Of the 13 industrial areas bordering Mumbai, CSE assessed four – Trans-Thane Creek (TTC), Taloja, Ambernath and Dombivali.

These four areas cover about 70 per cent of the industries operating in MMR.

The TTC, which comes under the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, was found to be a hotspot, contributing about 44 per cent of the total pollution load from the four areas. It also records the highest consumption of coal, at nearly 60 per cent of the coal consumed in the areas studied. Taloja Industrial Area follows TTC by contributing about 26 per cent of the pollution load.

The MMR encompasses an area of 4,355 sq km and consists of eight municipal corporations – Greater Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Vasai-Virar and Mira-Bhayandar. It also includes nine municipal councils – Ambernath, Kulgaon-Badalapur, Matheran, Karjat, Panvel, Khopoli, Pen, Uran and Alibaug – along with more than 1,000 villages in Thane and Raigad districts.

Under the National Clean Air Programme, the four non-attainment cities – Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Ulhasnagar and Badlapur – also are part of MMR.

“Mumbai is a coastal region and is, hence, not expected to have very high levels of pollution. But with rapid industrial and infrastructural development, the air quality has started deteriorating. The city needs to wake up and take corrective actions, to avoid turning into a pollution pressure-cooker like Delhi,” said Nivit Kumar Yadav, programme director, industrial pollution unit, CSE.

To understand the local exposure, CSE monitored the Particulate Matter (PM) last February. The report found that heavy traffic and industrial emissions contribute to pollution, locally.
The average level of PM 2.5 in Chembur, Taloja and TTC industrial areas were at 73 micrograms/cubic metre (µg/m3), 62 µg/m3 and 64 µg/m3, respectively.

The safety limit of PM 2.5 is 40 µg/m3 (annual). PM 2.5 pollutants, made up of hundreds of chemicals, are emitted into the air by construction sites, unpaved roads, fields and smokestacks or fires, power plants, factories and automobiles.
The average PM 10 values ranged between 200 to 900 µg/m3. The safety standard for PM 10 is 60 µg/m3 (annual).

Patalganga industrial area near Panvel had the lowest exposure to PM, whereas Dombivali, which comes under the Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation, has the highest exposure in Thane district. Dombivali is one of the most densely populated areas in MMR, and thus its air quality impacts a larger population than other areas, said the report.

Within Mumbai, Chembur has industrial units of large and organised sectors like power, oil refining and fertiliser. However, emissions from these units are controlled as the norms for these sectors are quite stringent compared to medium and small sector units found in the rest of MMR.

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