Wagholi, 30th November 2023: A circular dated 2nd November 2023, issued to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), emphasizes precautionary measures for the deteriorating air quality in Maharashtra. Despite the issued guidelines urging corrective actions for better air quality, concerns persist over trucks carrying demolition waste contributing to air pollution.
The guidelines from MPCB highlight specific measures such as fully covering vehicles carrying construction materials and demolition waste, continuous wet covering for buildings under construction or demolition, and strict adherence to vehicle standards and pollution checks. Non-compliance could lead to vehicle seizure and penalties from concerned authorities.
The guidelines also state that the vehicles carrying construction material or C & D material possess vehicle tracking systems installed on them, and if found not adhering to above-stated provisions, shall be seized and impounded by the RTO / Police Department. The Transport Department shall take action against overloading of vehicles, uncovered vehicles, vehicles spilling construction materials on roads
Dr Umesh Kahalekar, a Professor in Civil Engineering and a resident of Kharadi said, “The area in between Kharadi to Wagholi is much polluted. The AQI in this area is much higher. The main reasons are heavy traffic and vehicles that carry construction and demolition waste. The Vehicles that carry construction and demolition waste must be covered by tarpaulins and emptied vehicles shall be cleaned with water. Sand and grit particles falling down by such vehicles may lead to accidents and Air pollution too. One can observe a lot of dust accumulated near the dividers of roads. Such dust is also responsible for Air pollution. Such dust must be removed regularly by using mechanical sweeping machines. The fund received from the Corporation under the National Clean Air Mission shall be used for the same. The traffic police should be directed to remain present on this road to run traffic smoothly and avoid traffic congestion.”
He added, “Shivajinagar’s Air Quality Index (AQI) consistently exceeds 200, signaling the air quality as unhealthy/very unhealthy. It is very much necessary to have a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) based on AQI, for improving air quality in Pune. This GRAP shall be implemented with the help of different concerned agencies. The air quality of Pune is deteriorating day by day and remedial measures being planned or being taken by authorities are not known to common people. The citizens shall be made aware of AQI, its effects, and their role in the improvement of air quality of Pune.”
In response, Mangesh Dighe, Environment Officer of PMC, said, “As of now, Pune’s AQI level is between satisfactory to Moderate. We are constantly monitoring it and following the MPCB guidelines.”
Nitin Shinde, MPCB, said “We have already issued the precautionary guidelines to the PMC Commissioner. If the issues persist, PMC may issue fines or take action”
Despite the MPCB guidelines, concerns linger over the effective implementation of measures to curb pollution, especially related to demolition of waste-carrying vehicles, prompting a need for more stringent enforcement and public awareness campaigns for better air quality in Pune.