Navi Mumbai: Amidst the rising air pollution in the Panvel area during the winter season, the Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) has appealed to residents with respiratory issues to wear masks. To implement this, the Health Department of PMC has directed five different groups to adopt mask-wearing measures.
These groups include children under five, the elderly, pregnant women, individuals with respiratory conditions, those with poor nutrition, and those relying on fossil fuels for cooking, heating, and lighting. The directive also extends to traffic police, traffic volunteers, construction workers, road sweepers, and others. The municipal health department has strongly encouraged mask usage.
Following the order of Bombay High Court, the municipal commissioner Deshmukh directed officials to ensure that all developers must install metal sheets of at least 25 feet height around the construction projects. Also, it is necessary to surround all the buildings under construction as well as all the demolished buildings with wet green cloth, wet linen cloth, and tarpaulin.
Taloja node experiences the highest pollution levels
Residents of Panvel have voiced concerns about Taloja node experiencing the highest level of air pollution within the PMC jurisdiction. An environment activist has already taken the matter to the Lokayukta. “In Panvel, a large number of construction works are underway especially housing projects and other areas. Additionally, the presence of 80 stone quarries raises questions about adherence to Pollution Control Board regulations,” said green activists.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anand Gosavi, Chief Medical officer of PMC, has raised concern of risk faced by rickshaw pullers, roadside vendors, and citizens working outdoors in a polluted environment. The municipality has emphasized that women using biomass (wood or cow dung) for cooking are particularly vulnerable.
In order to mitigate these risks, PMC has issued guidelines and citizens have been advised to take necessary precautions. The civic body has asked citizens to avoid traveling on congested roads and areas near polluting industries, demolition sites, or high-pollution zones like coal-based power plants and brick kilns.
Other safety measures:
*Plan outdoor activities in line with the Air Quality Index (AQI) levels and stay indoors during days with poor to severe AQI.
*Refrain from engaging in outdoor physical activities such as walking, running, or jogging during mornings and late evenings on days with mild to severe AQI.
*Keep windows and doors closed during the mornings and evenings; if necessary, go out between 12 noon and 4 pm.
*Abstain from burning biomass, such as wood, coal, animal dung, or kerosene, for cooking.
*Opt for clean, smokeless fuels like gas or electricity for cooking and heating; if using biomass, use a clean cook stove.
*Avoid firecrackers and open burning of wood, leaves, crop residues, and garbage.
*Refrain from consuming cigarettes, bidis, and related tobacco products.
*Avoid burning mosquito coils and incense sticks indoors.
*When cleaning, use a wet cloth instead of sweeping or vacuuming; if using a vacuum cleaner, choose one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
*Regularly wash your eyes with running water and gargle with warm water.
*If you experience symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, cough, chest discomfort, burning eyes, or other health issues, consult the nearest doctor.