As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Mumbai features amongst the 17 most-polluted cities in Maharashtra and 123 cities from the country, a state minister said today. 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.
He was speaking at a one-day workshop on ‘Clean Air Maharashtra Resolve 2022’ here. “The main contributors to the air pollution in the state are vehicles and factories,” he said. As per the state’s Economic Survey for 2017, the total number of vehicles (all category) registered in the state is 2.93 crore.
This figure includes – motorcycles 2.14 crore, cars, jeeps 41.51 lakh, taxis 2.18 lakh, autorickshaws 7.44 lakh, lorries 14.98 lakh, school buses 24,910, trailers 3.96 lakh and tractors 6.39 lakh. As per the Economic Survey, the number of registered industrial units in the state in 2014-15 was 28,601.
While speaking to reporters later, the minister clarified that the reason behind so many cities in the state being identified as having poor air quality is because the state has set up air quality monitoring systems in 72 places, unlike Gujarat, where there is 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 CPCB include – Badlapur, Nagpur, Nashik, Pune and Ulhasnagar. The air quality in these cities is way below the prescribed pollution standards, he added.
According to Pote-Patil, in a bid to reduce air pollution caused by the industries, the government intends to implement solar power policy in the 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. The industries will enjoy free power for the next 35 years,” he said.
He added that the municipal corporations in the state should allocate 25 per cent of their budgetary allocations towards pollution control measures and the task should be taken up as a mission mode.
He argued that the concept of “Odd and Even” formula for cars in cities like Mumbai will not work due to the daily to and fro commuting of working population, many who use vehicles for daily commuting to workplaces.
The electricity-driven Ola, bus and motor assisted pedal rickshaws have already been introduced in Nagpur, Pote-Patil added.