Navi Mumbai: The air quality index (AQI) in the Taloja area suddenly reached an alarming level last week, and surprisingly, officials from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) were reportedly caught off guard.
The Shiv Sena (Shinde) Panvel unit observed a rise in cases of prolonged cough, fever, and headaches, along with poor AQI readings at two stations in Kalamboli and Taloja. Accordingly, they brought this matter to the attention of the MPCB.
National Air Quality Index | FPJ
Investigating the Sudden Drop in Air Quality
A delegation met with officials in Belapur and requested an investigation into the cause of the sudden drop in air quality on the evening of August 17. Mangesh Ranavade, Chairman of the Kharghar Taloja Colonies Welfare Association (KTCWA) and Mahanagar Sanghatak of Shivsena's Shinde faction, stated that around 4 pm on August 17, the AQI surpassed 300, indicating poor air quality. "When we brought this to the attention of MPCB officials, they assured us of an investigation," Ranawade said.
According to the delegation, the state government allocated significant funds for AQI stations in Taloja and Kalamboli. However, their data is not being reviewed.
In the past, residents of Kharghar and Taloja have complained about poor air quality attributed to industrial units. Unfortunately, without AQI stations, their concerns were overlooked. "Now, with official air monitoring stations, they cannot deny that air quality has deteriorated during the monsoon, which is hard to believe," Ranawade mentioned. He added that there's a possibility that a dangerous gas leak may be causing significant health issues.
Pollution's Severe Impact on Citizens' Health
Other members of the delegation informed that, according to medical experts, pollution significantly impacts citizens' health. "A survey conducted by the Shiv Sena Panvel party revealed that the number of cases of viral fever, cough, and cold is rapidly increasing in areas adjacent to Taloja MIDC. Citizens are seeking medical attention for complaints such as persistent cough, fever, and headaches," another member of the delegation stated.
Meanwhile, the Panvel Shiv Sena has demanded an investigation into the sudden rise in pollution and urged action against industrial units in violation. Satish Padwal, Divisional Officer of MPCB, and Taloja Divisional Officer Vikrant Bhalerao assured that they will look into the matter.