Mumbai: BMC's Environment Department Faces Staffing Woes Amid Rising Environmental Concerns

Mumbai: BMC's Environment Department Faces Staffing Woes Amid Rising Environmental Concerns

The department currently only has one Deputy Commissioner who is devotedly working for it.

Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Monday, January 01, 2024, 10:27 PM IST
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Mumbai: BMC's Environment Department Faces Staffing Woes Amid Rising Environmental Concerns | File

The Environment Department of BMC has had no dedicated staff since 2016. The department currently only has one Deputy Commissioner who is devotedly working for it. His responsibilities include formulating and executing plans for the environment. He has been assigned only one clerk, and a consultant along with their staff are assisting him in his work. Consequently, the question arises about how the Environment Department will function in the long term. The department requires at least one sub-engineer in each administrative ward, and there are twenty-five BMC administrative wards in Mumbai.

Mumbai's degrading Environment quality

In the months of September and October, Mumbai's AQI was poor, leading the State government, Bombay High Court, citizens, and social activists to criticize BMC for inaction. BMC responded by implementing twenty-seven air pollution mitigation measures. The Environment Department of BMC played a role in formulating guidelines.

Currently, the Environment Department of BMC is monitoring the AQI, taking action against construction sites that do not adhere to guidelines, and checking the capacity of air pollution measurement devices to ensure they are installed in the correct locations. The department is also formulating both long-term and short-term measures to reduce air pollution. It has also invited tenders for cloud seeding, but there is a shortage of dedicated staff for this purpose.

Sources indicate that for the implementation of environmental work, the department has to seek assistance from officers and sub-engineers of Solid Waste Management (SWM). From 2005 to 2016, BMC's Environment Department and Solid Waste Management Department worked together under the Deputy Commissioner SWM. However, since the separation in 2016, there has been only one Deputy Commissioner working full-time for the environment with no dedicated staff. After the separation, around forty thousand workers were allocated to the SWM department. In the last two years, there has been an increase in environmental work, necessitating collaboration with other departments.

Proposal to appoint manpower to be presented to Commissioner

An officer from BMC mentioned that a proposal to appoint manpower will soon be presented to the BMC Commissioner.

The Environment Department is not the only department lacking staff. Eleven administrative wards of BMC also do not have Assistant Commissioners to handle administrative tasks.

Global warming woes

Due to global warming, sea levels are rising, resulting in flood-like situations in some countries. According to weather experts, greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide are responsible for global warming. To address global warming, dedicated staff is going to be appointed, and planning is underway at the administrative level.

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