Early mornings in Kharghar and Taloja bring with them a mixture of hazy and pungent air.
Kharghar / Navi Mumbai / PMC: Once again, Kharghar and Taloja residents are battling with pollution, thanks to some of the chemical industries located at the Taloja MIDC area. Since some days, there has been increased pollution in both the nodes, during the wee hours.
Smog and pungent stench in air plagues Kharghar and Taloja frequently
Just a fews days ago, there had been hazy and pungent smelling air going around as informed by many Kharghar and Taloja residents. While many could notice the pollution from 5.00 am, the pollutants seem to have got released even earlier, around 3.00 am, as told by our reporter who lives in Kharghar.
Ever since the lockdown had come into effect during the month of March, 2020, Kharghar residents had been spared of the daily dose of pollution arising out of Taloja industries area. However, ever since the lockdown was eased, industries have been back to business and doing what they do best – pollute!
Early morning walks and jogs of Kharghar and Taloja residents have been affected
Suraj Singh, a Taloja resident, shares, “Let’s keep aside Kharghar for a moment, Taloja is bearing with the pollution first hand. What goes to Kharghar, starts by troubling us first. We are the first ones in harm’s way. There is a lot going on in Taloja and the pollution situation is being ignored and postponed citing one reason or another. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) or any other department that has been in the news for penalizing the industries, seems to have diverted the topic from solution to penalty. We don’t the authorities to simply penalize the industries in Taloja for polluting our neighbourhood– we want the issue to end!”
“There is a lot going on in Taloja and the pollution situation is being ignored and postponed citing one reason or another”
– Suraj Singh, a Taloja resident
While Taloja has been bearing with the lethargy and unconcern of the authority at many levels, Kharghar, the so called up-class neighbouring node, seems to be troubled too.
Since a few days, early morning birds have been having a hard time walking or jogging in the smoke and gas-filled, pungent smelling air that had been greeting them during their morning outings. Many have hurried back to their homes unwillingly.
Deepak Jadhav, a Kharghar resident and morning jogger, shares, “There is no point of stepping out in the morning for fresh air when all you get is hazy air with a stench that can send you running for cover. It is pathetic in every sense. This is nothing less than a disappointment that the authorities never intervene unless provoked and even then, they simply cite administrative issues or simply sweet talk with the media about the ‘penalties’ they have levied on the offenders. We don’t even know what they did with the penalty they had fined the industries with. Are they waiting for another year to fine levy another penalty?”
“There is no point of stepping out in the morning for fresh air when all you get is hazy air with a stench that can send you running for cover.”
– Deepak Jadhav, a Kharghar resident
Requests and pleas of Kharghar and Taloja residents seem to be unnoticed by the authorities
Apparently, Kharghar residents and a local organization, Swachh Shwas Jagran Samiti, had rushed the matter to the MPCB only to be told that the Taloja industrial zone was not under their jurisdiction. However, they promised to look into the issue.
Advocate Shelly Pandya, a local resident of Kharghar and also an active social activist, shares, “The pollution arising out of Taloja MIDC is real and is affecting everyone in one way or another. There has to be permanent issues and the development authority and administration should know better to keep residential areas and industries separate. They should at least ensure that toxic industrial waste gets treated to have the least impact on human lives. the residents of Taloja and Kharghar are well aware of the pollution issues.”
“Now we have to come together to either get it fixed or ensure that nobody else gets into the “Green Kharghar” trap anymore. Kharghar was green and pure, two decades ago, but not anymore. Excessively quarried mountains, seasonal untended waterfalls and man-made parks, like the Central Park, don’t make a place green.”
“Now we have to come together to either get it fixed or ensure that nobody else gets into the “Green Kharghar” trap anymore.”
-Advocate Shelly Pandya, Kharghar resident
The Taloja MIDC and pollution issues in Taloja and Kharghar
For those who are unaware, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) – Taloja has been a pollution hub of sorts since years.
Alarmingly, the Taloja CETP had also been marked as the most polluted one in the whole of Maharashtra just a year ago, with overwhelmingly huge amounts of toxic waste, much beyond the permitted ranges, being continuously released into the Kasardi River and the creek at MIDC Taloja.
The toxic waste in Kasardi River had, over the years, effected marine life and plantation drastically, almost depleting them. Apart from that, local villagers, especially fishermen, had been plagued by serious diseases of the skin and other pollution related ailments. There had also been instances of dogs scavenging the rivers for food or fish, being affected by the chemical waste and changing body colours.
Today, even after a lot of deliberation and promises by concerned departments, the polluting of the river and the air continues, exposing residents of Taloja and Kharghar to many health hazards. Though the pollution can be said to be on a lower scale as compared to what it was a year back, the pollution still continues and is affecting local residents.
Further, it is not just Taloja and Kharghar facing the pollution issue but Roadpali and Panvel.
Only recently, the MIDC-Taloja completed work of the first phase of upgrading the common effluent treatment plant CETP that will help treat industrial waste before being released in the river and creek.
However, the capacity of the newly upgraded CETP is still 12mld of waste water against the 23 mld waste that gets generated by industrial units in Taloja MIDC.
MIDC plans to complete work on the CETP as early as possible to increase the capacity to 23 mld.
However, pollution continues to plague the daily lives of people living in Taloja and Kharghar.
Our (LocalPress.in) Opinion
Well, anybody who lives in Kharghar or Taloja, knows how the real situation is. There is no denying the pollution that afflicts local residents, especially those in the Taloja area. We have a personal experience of the pollution crisis on a day to day basis.
While a lot has been said on the pollution issues in Taloja and Kharghar in newspapers, with official and administrative stands on the situation over the years, the problem exists and continues to grow.
It will have to be taken care of by the authorities but before that, local residents of Kharghar and Taloja will have to start speaking out loudly and clearly about the overall situation, making new property buyers aware of the trouble they will be getting into after buying properties in Taloja.
Only when the real estate sales go down, will the builders’ lobby get into the act and pressurise the administration and bring about practical action.
P.S. We will be coming up with detailed story about the increasing threat of pollution in Taloja and Kharghar soon.