Mumbai News: BMC Establishes Dedicated Department To Combat Climate Change And Environmental Issues

Mumbai News: BMC Establishes Dedicated Department To Combat Climate Change And Environmental Issues

Experts have welcomed this development, emphasising the crucial role that engineers within the department will play in implementing climate action plans and fostering collaboration among stakeholders.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Friday, May 24, 2024, 12:33 AM IST
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BMC Headquarters | File Photo

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has taken a significant step towards addressing environmental concerns and combating climate change by establishing a dedicated Environment and Climate Change department. It has plans to expand its workforce by appointing 41 engineers and redeploy 14 engineers from the solid waste management (SWM) department, including two executive engineers, nine assistant engineers, and three sub-engineers with the aim to enhance its capacity to implement the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP) introduced in 2021. 

This move comes in response to the urgent need to tackle the growing threats posed by climate change, including vulnerability to cyclonic storms, air pollution, and other environmental challenges. The Environment and Climate Change department will be headed by a Deputy Municipal Commissioner and is expected to streamline efforts to address environmental challenges and coordinate initiatives across various departments, administrative wards, and external agencies. The draft plan for creating these new positions has been submitted to the municipal commissioner for approval.

The MCAP, launched in 2021, outlines comprehensive strategies to address various aspects of climate change, including waste management, urban greening, biodiversity conservation, flood management, water resource management, energy efficiency, air quality improvement, and sustainable mobility. The creation of a dedicated department signifies a significant step towards its effective implementation.

The proposed department will also include an air quality monitoring and research lab, highlighting the need to monitor and address air pollution, which has become a significant concern in recent years. While the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board bears primary responsibility for addressing air quality issues, the BMC's role in responding to citizens' complaints and enforcing regulations has been questioned in the past. The administration's response to deteriorating air quality has often been criticised for its slow response. However, recent interventions, prompted by directives from higher authorities, have demonstrated a willingness to address these concerns and implement necessary measures to mitigate air pollution.

Experts have welcomed this development, emphasising the crucial role that engineers within the department will play in implementing climate action plans and fostering collaboration among stakeholders. 

Environmental activist D Stalin said that the civic body should recruit climate scientists and geologists, so that they can prepare the population and civic body for impending disasters. “They should also get environmental engineers and experts on board and not rely on external experts like in the state government, the revenue department is handling environmental issues," he said.

Lubaina Rangwala, Program Head of Urban Development and Resilience at WRI India said, "The creation of posts for the environment and climate change department is a welcome move. Its engineers will play a big role in coordinating across departments, administrative wards, other agencies and stakeholders in implementing the climate action plan." 

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