Virtual Chimneys, No Firecracker Ban: Mumbai's Plan To Tackle Pollution

There won’t be a ban on bursting crackers in Mumbai, said Deepak Kesarkar. (Representational)

Mumbai:

Fitting vehicle-mounted air filters on 350 BEST buses, setting up virtual chimneys at traffic congestion spots, placing special streetlights and installing air purification systems in select gardens are some of the technological measures being identified to control air pollution in Mumbai.

Among other measures and actions, the city civic body has ordered 30 vehicles mounted with sprinklers, also called fog cannons, while notices have been served to readymix concrete units, and industries have been directed to increase the height of chimneys, said Mumbai district guardian minister Deepak Kesarkar.

He said there won’t be a ban on bursting crackers but citizens should use their discretion and burst fewer crackers.

“IIT (Bombay) has identified various companies and technology offered by them is used on a trial basis in Mumbai. The technology which proves effective in reducing pollution will be given priority. We have identified six technologies, including vehicles-mounted air filters,” Mr Kesarkar told reporters.

He said the Maharashtra Environment Department is monitoring the use of technologies besides the Mumbai civic chief.

Mr Kesarkar said 350 buses of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will be fitted with “vehicle mounted filters” in phases for the removal of impurities from dust and other particles.

“Initially, these detachable air filters will be fitted on 150 buses of BEST and later on 200 more buses,” the minister said.

He said he has also suggested bringing new electric buses of BEST fitted with vehicle-mounted filters so that the time required for the fitment of the air filtration devices can be avoided.

On measures undertaken in view of the worsening air quality of Mumbai, Mr Kesarkar said the Maharashtra government has already issued guidelines for air pollution mitigation whose implementation has been started by the city civic body.

Speaking about the six technological measures, he said virtual chimneys will be installed at 10 spots of high traffic congestion in Mumbai. “These chimneys will do filtration in huge amounts,” he added.

He said a streetlight named “Vayu” will be installed with the objective of air purification at 50 locations.

“An air purification system will be installed on a trial basis in six gardens, including the diamond garden and one in Chembur, Shivaji Park, Rani Baug in Byculla, SK Patil garden in Marine Lines and Bhakti Park garden in Wadala,” the minister said.

Queried if the bursting of crackers will be restricted during the Diwali festival, Mr Kesarkar said the state government always appeals to people to use fewer crackers.

“At places like Delhi, there is a 100 per cent ban on bursting of crackers. We should think that if fewer crackers are burst there will be more happiness and there won’t be a ban,” Mr Kesarkar said.

He said the civic body has given a 15-day deadline for taking prohibitory action for curbing pollution and a 30-day time frame for purchasing machinery.

“The air quality will certainly improve in this period,” Mr Kesarkar added. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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