Pune: Cement Dust Pollution Hits Wakad’s Residential Areas, Citizens Raise Health Concerns

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Varad Bhatkhande

Wakad, 28th December 2023: Concerns are being expressed by residents of numerous societies as well as schools like Akshara International School and Indira National School regarding the pollution originating from the UltraTech RMC Cement facility in Wakad, Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune.

Inhalation of cement dust is known to be associated with respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Prolonged exposure may contribute to more severe respiratory conditions. Residents fear the adverse impact on their health and the well-being of children attending nearby schools.

Brijesh Bansal, a Wakad resident, took to Twitter, tagging Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) Commissioner Shekhar Singh, said, ” Hello @shekhardalal sir, I would like to raise a grievance about not having area/sidewalk cleaning on Shani mandir road Wakad area. I raised the complaint (MA49141) about the same on the saarthi app however, that was closed without resolving the issue. Need your support here.

In recent years, Wakad, along with adjacent areas like Hinjawadi, Punawale, Tathawade, and others, has witnessed rapid development, attracting numerous residents due to urbanization. Unfortunately, the burgeoning pollution levels in these areas are causing health concerns for the citizens, particularly impacting the well-being of young children.

Another resident Pranjal Lade said that the residents fear about the health hazards caused by the dust pollution.

Sachin Londhe, Vice President of the Pimpri Chinchwad Housing Society Federation, expressed, “There is a growing concern regarding environmental and health issues in Wakad. I am particularly concerned about the impact on the large population residing in the area, especially the health of young children. Residents have observed a rise in pollution levels and we are urging authorities to take prompt action. Alongside the cement plant, ongoing metro work in Hinjawadi-Wakad is also contributing to noise and air pollution.”

Observations reveal that the cement facility is not only failing to implement proper measures during storage and production but is also negligent in its transportation practices. Consequently, cement spills on the road, creating a dusty atmosphere throughout the entire area. Wakad, housing numerous educational institutions, offices, shops, and various amenities, is significantly affected by these practices.

A resident of Kohinoor Courtyard One shared their experience, stating, “Cement transportation trucks often spill cement on the streets, contributing to continuous pollution. Complaints that we filed through the PCMC Smart Sarathi app, designed for civic grievances, have gone unanswered or addressed inadequately, leading to our frustration.”

The PCMC Smart Sarathi app, intended to streamline complaint resolution, is facing criticism from citizens who claim that their grievances are not being adequately addressed. Numerous complaints highlight the need for improved communication and efficient resolution processes to address environmental concerns and protect the well-being of residents not only in Wakad but throughout the PCMC area.

PCMC’s Joint City Engineer (Environment) Sanjay Kulkarni remarked, “Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) gives all the permissions related to cement plants. PCMC is working to reduce pollution. Regarding the subject of metro works going on in the PCMC area, we have issued guidelines to them. They should carry out their work according to that. We are also regularly supervising them.”

MPCB and UltraTech Cement have not responded to queries from Punekar News on the issue.

Editor’s Note: This report will be updated after getting response from the MPCB and UltraTech Cement.