Free Press Journal

Environment week: Destruction of Parsik Hill leads to massive air pollution in the vicinity


Mumbai: Taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi  call during his latest Mann Ki Baat broadcast to ‘Connect People To Nature for World Environment Day on June 5, a communication professionals body has launched a campaign to focus on reckless quarrying that is destroying the once picturesque Parsik Hill here.  The relentless blasting of Parsik Hill has led to not only widespread destruction of nature, but created massive air pollution adversely impacting the health of the people living in the vicinity. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) itself has said that the air pollution levels in the areas around stone crushers of quarries are 100 times the acceptable levels.

Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) — the premier national body of PR, media, advertising, HR professionals and mass communication academicians and students — has embarked on this unique communication campaign to draw the attention of all stakeholders to the hazards of Parsik Hill quarrying. “The title of the campaign across social media — on twitter, Facebook and Youtube — is #IamParsikHill and IamDying. We will soon work ground events with mass communication students once the colleges reopen,” said PRCI National President B.N. Kumar.

PRCI chief mentor and chairman emeritus M.B. Jayaram said: “This campaign is part of our series of social communication endeavours. Since our motto is Communication for Better World, we continue to engage ourselves in such campaigns.”  A PRCI campaign — Mission Mumbai Local, focusing on improving the suburban train infrastructure — has won PR Milestone of the Year award from America’s PR World.  Meanwhile, Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP), which raised concern over the quarrying, has decided to extend its support to the #IamParsikHill campaign. “It is a worthy cause,” SEAP founder Nandkumar Pawar said.

“The need of the hour is to maintain green cover for the rapidly developing city and not destruction in the name of development. Quarrying could be done outside city limits and Parsik Hill digging should never be permitted,” he added.  As the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is hearing a PIL on the issue, quarrying has been stopped for some time now. But the Thane District Collector allowed three quarries to operate. Activists fear that quarrying may make a backdoor entry sooner than later.  Quarrying in Parsik Hills was banned during the previous Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government at the instance of late Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. But later the blasting of the hills resumed.  A cursory look at the hills from the Sion-Panvel highway shows the pathetic condition of the plundered hills along the Thane-Belapur Road.