Mumbai and Navi Mumbai figure in the list of the most-polluted cities and the state government intends to make Maharashtra pollution-free by 2022, by adopting various pollution control measures, minister of state for environment, Pravin Pote-Patil said, while speaking at a workshop on ‘Clean Air Maharashtra Resolve 2022’ in Mumbai. “The main contributors to air pollution in the state were vehicles and factories,” he said.
As per the state’s Economic Survey for 2017, the total number of vehicles (all categories) registered in the state was 2.93 crores. This figure includes – motorcycles (2.14 crores), cars and jeeps (41.51 lakhs), taxis (2.18 lakhs), autorickshaws (7.44 lakhs), lorries (14.98 lakhs), school buses (24,910), trailers (3.96 lakhs) and tractors (6.39 lakhs). As per the Economic Survey, the number of registered industrial units in the state in 2014-15 was 28,601.
The minister clarified that the reason behind so many cities in the state being identified as having poor air quality, was because the state had set up air quality monitoring systems in 72 places, unlike Gujarat, where there was just one such unit in place. “Out of the 72 units, 10 to 12 units monitor the air quality on a daily basis and seven units do so on a weekly basis,” Pote-Patil said.
The other cities that have been marked as having poor air quality by the CPCB include Badlapur, Nagpur, Nashik, Pune and Ulhasnagar. The air quality in these cities was way below the prescribed pollution standards, he added.
According to Pote-Patil, in a bid to reduce air pollution caused by industries, the government intends to implement a solar power policy in industries, wherein the industries will make the initial investment of installing solar panels by 2019. The industries will get a 30 per cent concession in electricity bills and after 15 years, these solar power generating units will be handed over to the industries, he said. “The average life of these solar power generating units is around 40 years. Hence, industries will enjoy free power for the next 35 years,” he explained.
He added that the municipal corporations in the state, should allocate 25 per cent of their budgetary allocations towards pollution control measures. He argued that the ‘odd and even’ formula for cars in cities like Mumbai would not work, due to the daily to and fro commuting of the working population, many of whom use vehicles daily for commuting to workplaces. Electricity-driven buses and motor assisted pedal rickshaws, have already been introduced in Nagpur, Pote-Patil added.