Mumbai: The BMC is set to engage a consultant for a comprehensive study of the soil in Dadar's Shivaji Park, addressing residents' concerns about red soil and rising dust pollution. The civic body aims to enhance the park's appeal by introducing smog towers and increasing greenery. Following their appointment, the consultant is anticipated to deliver their report within a month. However, the project faces staunch opposition from certain residents who assert that the park has turned into a profit-driven venture for the BMC.
In October, residents protested, demanding the immediate removal of red soil from Shivaji Park, claiming the natural soil was more stable in strong winds. As part of the BMC's 2021 beautification project, red soil was introduced, leading to increased dust pollution, according to residents. Following a visit by local MP Rahul Shewale and civic officials, a decision was made on October 31 to install eight smog towers along the park's periphery. BMC administrator Iqbal Singh Chahal recently approved the proposal. Ramakant Biradar, deputy municipal commissioner (zone 2), stated that an expert from IIT-Bombay or VJTI would be appointed to study the soil and propose a solution.
Approximately two years ago, around 400 truckloads of soil were deposited in the park, making the removal of the upper layer challenging. Despite the BMC's daily sprinkling of 2.9 lakh liters of water from 35 ring wells to enhance greenery and curb pollution, the issue persists. To address the problem, the BMC plans to consult experts on potential solutions, including the possible removal of the topsoil and the appropriate technology for smog towers, according to another official. Prakash Belwade from the Shivaji Park Resident’s Association expressed skepticism about the BMC's commitment to resolving the dust pollution issue and called for the removal of red soil with water spraying as a more viable solution.