Mumbai: In response to the escalating pollution crisis in Mumbai, the BMC has taken measures against illegal chimneys emitting toxic fumes. Following the crackdown on 13 illicit furnaces in Sakinaka, another nine chimneys from gold and silver smelting units in Kalbadevi were demolished in the past two days. However, residents have alleged that these efforts are merely a façade, as only a portion of the chimneys is demolished, and they reappear after a few days.
Frequent complaints by local residents
Local residents have lodged frequent complaints about these chimneys emitting smoke, expressing concerns that they are exacerbating pollution in the Kalbadevi and Zaveri Bazar area, where these units are operational. BMC's C ward officials issued notices to these units and removed one chimney from building number 18/20 Ovalwadi in the Kalbadevi area. Additionally, four chimneys were dismantled from building number 12 in Vithoba Lane, and five more were demolished from several other buildings in the same area on Tuesday.
"The gold and silver smelting process involves the use of furnaces to melt the metals, releasing gases through the chimney. The emission of untreated gases poses a significant threat to human health, aggravating air pollution hazards. This ongoing action aims to mitigate air pollution in the area," stated a civic official.
Nirvan Garodiya from the Bhuleshwar Residents Association criticized the BMC's approach, stating, "There are over 2,000 chimneys emitting toxic fumes from smelting and polishing units. BMC staff only demolish parts of the chimneys and never address the boundaries. Consequently, the chimneys reappear quickly, rendering such actions mere deception. In 2018, then-chief minister Devendra Fadnavis promised to relocate gold smelting units from Kalbadevi after residents complained about toxic fumes. To date, nothing has changed.