Health Risks Escalate as Smoke Lingers for Two Days After Industrial Waste Fire in Morwadi

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Pimpri Chinchwad, 26th February 2024: A recent incident occurred behind the Morwadi Court building in Pimpri Chinchwad city, where industrial waste left in an open space caught fire, emitting thick smoke into the surroundings. The fire, fueled by rubber and plastic waste, smouldered for two days, exacerbating pollution levels and posing health risks for the residents. Concerned environmentalists and citizens plan to meet with the Commissioner of Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) today to address the pressing issue.

The fire, which originated near the Amriteshwar Society, engulfed large piles of rubber, plastic, and scrap materials stored in the open space. The illegal stockpile included tyres and cables, with a barrel of oil contributing to a significant explosion during the incident.

The accumulation of industrial waste in the field created a hazardous stockpile that caught fire, causing widespread panic. Even after two days, substantial amounts of smoke continued to blanket areas such as Tukaram Masulkar Colony, Ajmera Colony, Empire Estate, Auto Cluster, and Morwadi, leading to compromised air quality and heightened pollution levels. Unfortunately, incidents of garbage burning are not uncommon in various parts of the city, and both the Health Department and the Environment Department of the PCMC seem inactive in addressing this issue. It has come to light that the respective teams from these departments are not actively working, contributing to a lack of penal action and exacerbating the situation.

The industrial waste fire in Morwadi was a formidable challenge for firefighters. Initially, water was employed in an attempt to control the fire, but its intensity persisted. Subsequently, foam was utilized, providing some relief by partially suppressing the flames. However, once the effect of the foam diminished, the fire reignited. Fire department officials then resorted to using soil to bring the fire under control.

The incident poses a significant health threat to residents in the vicinity due to the widespread smoke from the industrial waste fire. The elderly, children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable, finding it challenging to venture outside their homes. The burning of rubber and plastic materials produced a strong and unpleasant odour, adding to the difficulties faced by the citizens.

The area where the industrial waste was stored also had a substantial number of trees, including those planted by students from PCMC’s ITI College and the court premises. Unfortunately, the fire, which smouldered for two days, led to the destruction of 15 to 20 large trees and several smaller ones. Environmentalists lament the loss of these green trees, emphasizing the impact of the fire on the local ecosystem.

A concerning situation has emerged along the Chikhali – Kudalwadi – Moshi road from Pimpri, where a substantial number of unauthorized scrap shops have been established. These shops are not only a frequent source of fires but also contribute to significant environmental hazards. The washing of chemically mixed pumps leads to both air and water pollution. Unfortunately, the lack of action against these unauthorized establishments has allowed them to proliferate, occupying the entire area.

The persistent existence of these unauthorized scrap shops poses a severe threat to the well-being of citizens. The frequent fires and associated environmental contamination are compromising air quality, making it increasingly difficult for residents to breathe. There is an urgent and pressing demand from concerned citizens for immediate action to be taken against these shops in urban areas. It is crucial to address this issue promptly to safeguard the health and living conditions of the community in the present and future.