14 June, 2021

We, The People

Citizens must take active role in combating localised sources of air pollution. Examples from Mumbai show that every effort is important.

We, The People

In comparing sites of burning garbage or firecrackers, air pollution from garbage showed even higher immediate spikes than firecrackers. While this might not surprise, firecrackers are an acknowledged source of severe air pollution restricted for use by the National Green Tribunal and Supreme Court while informal garbage dumps surrounding Mumbai are not.

In Mumbai’s urbanised outskirts, Thane, Bhiwandi, Panvel and beyond, scattered heaps of mixed garbage burn as people walk casually past. We check Mumbai’s Air Quality Index (AQI) and note, with relief, that it is ‘Moderate’, far better than Delhi’s ‘Severe.’ Everyone knows that Mumbai’s pollution is washed away by sea breezes and this little bit can’t hurt. It’s the bigger things that count: vehicular and industrial pollution, we think.

With a low-cost hand-held air quality meter near burning roadside garbage, Awaaz Foundation measured local air pollution. Among the first citizens’ science initiatives of the Clean Air Collective, the findings were...

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