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City gasps for breath; noise unbearable

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

The air you breathe is polluted, the water you drink is contaminated and you can't have a moment's peace, thanks to all the noise around you.

These are facts that have come up in the 2012-13 Environment Status Report (ESR) of greater Mumbai, prepared by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM).

The report, exclusively with dna, shows potable water has about 14-42% bacterial contamination And noise pollution is highest in silence zones. There's been minimal increase in open space and green cover.

Glaring rise in pollution can be seen in these figures:

* In some wards the Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) is 531 compared to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) standard of 140

*The presence of ammonia is some wards is 320 compared to the standard of 100

*Nitrogenoxide is 40 while the average SPM for entire city is 273.

*In the case of water the samples from Marine Lines and Churney Road 42 per cent samples were found to be unfit for consumption while the figure for Goregaon was 31 per cent of the samples.

*For noise pollution CPCB standard in residential area is 45 decibels while in some parts of Mumbai it is 79 decibels. Furious and unnecessary horning by cars is the major reason. This is clear indication that Mumbai should be made a No Horn Zone like many other cities. Even in Silence Zone the standard is 40 decibels while it is 83 decibels in the over 1000 silence zones in the city. Silence zone is thus clearly a joke.

Suspended particulates, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and ammonia levels in the ambient air is way beyond the CPCB levels because of widespread construction work and a rise in vehicular traffic.

Noise levels across the city are more than the prescribed CPCB standards. In fact, silence zones recorded the highest noise levels, especially during evenings and nights.

Asthma, according to the report, is an emerging health hazard. Aspergillus fungus from pigeon droppings is one of the main reasons behind it.

The environment status report is based on data collected through regular monitoring and evaluation of the ambient air through six receptor–oriented monitoring sites at Worli, Khar, Andheri, Bhandup, Borivli and Maravali in Chembur.

Since Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Ammonia (NH3) and suspended particulates in the air are higher than the CPCB standards, it can lead to a host of health ailments. Chembur is the most polluted followed by Khar, Andheri and Bhandup.

In the report, Rakesh Kumar, chief scientist and head of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, has said the situation could soon turn catastrophic.

"The sheer number of people and rapid population growth have contributed to some serious environmental problems in Mumbai. Some areas in the city have population densities of almost 46,000 per square kilometre ,among the highest in the world, which have affected basic life-sustaining resources, water and air," Kumar said in his report.

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