Mumbai: A examine performed within the Dahanu eco-sensitive zone (ESZ), within the Palghar district, has revealed that the area suffers from alarmingly excessive ranges of air air pollution. Air samples collected over a 24-hour interval, from 12 places within the space in January this 12 months, confirmed PM2.5 ranges between 117.9ug/m3 to 637.9ug/m3, a spread that’s between 2 to 10.6 occasions greater than the 60ug /m3 threshold prescribed within the Centre’s Nationwide Ambient Air High quality Requirements.
Such excessive ranges of air air pollution, the examine suggests, are contributing to the woes of chikoo farmers within the area, whose crops have gotten more and more susceptible to a ‘black fungus’, inflicting the fruit to exfoliate from the tree earlier than ripening.
The whole space of Dahanu is about 2,45,000 acres of land, of which 32% is used for agriculture and horticulture. Of this, 6% of the land is used solely for chicoo cultivation. Farmers are reportedly dealing with a 40-50% decline of their yields over the past decade as a result of prevalence of fungal illnesses.
“Probably the most affected had been located within the Northeast path of the (Dahanu Thermal Energy Plant). Throughout monsoon, the North-Northeast farms expertise the wind movement from Southwest to the Northeast ie from the TPP aspect to the Chikoo cultivation fields. Coal fly ash and fugitive emissions from TPP are carried by the stronger winds and get stopped by the Kainad-Kosbad hill ranges. The trapped pollution get settled on the bushes current on this area. As soon as the Southwest monsoon kicks in, rain washes away the pollution from the tree and flows all the way down to the land space affecting the pH of the soil and making it extra acidic. Thus, facilitating the incidence of Phytophthora fungal illness within the Chikoo bushes. The contaminated Chikoo turns into black and exfoliates from the tree,” notes the examine.
Prit Patil, a farmer and chikoo dealer who grows crops on round 44 acres of land in shut proximity to the TPP, stated that this phenomenon, although first reported within the space greater than a decade in the past, has develop into exacerbated within the final three to 4 years.
“In 2004-5, I used to be capable of produce 300 kilos of chikoos in a 12 months. Final 12 months, my annual yield was solely round 125 kgs. The mix of excessive temperatures and humidity is ideal for this phytophthora fungus, and we begin worrying about it each wet season. The air pollution blocks the pores of the leaves and prevents the fruit from getting any nourishment,” he stated.
The examine was performed by two Chennai-based organisations, the Coastal Useful resource Middle (CRC) and the Well being Power Initiative (HEI), on the behist of the Dahanu Taluka Setting Welfare Affiliation (DTEWA), a civil society group primarily based in Dahanu.
Samples from all 12 places additionally revealed a excessive focus of silica mud, which is a part of coal ash and building sand. The highest three most samples, by way of PM2.5, had been situated 4-6kms upwind from the Dahanu Thermal Energy Plant. Between 9 to 36% of the PM2.5 concentrations at these 12 sampling places comprised coal ash.
Although India doesn’t have any prescribed customary for silica mud in ambient air, the 12 samples analyzed contained this dangerous substance in extra of the requirements prescribed by the California Workplace of Environmental Well being Hazard Evaluation. Air from 4 sampling places additionally had excessive ranges of heavy metals, particularly manganese (a neurotoxin) and nickel (a carcinogen). A further two places additionally mirrored excessive hazardous portions of nickel alone.
“Doable sources of air air pollution could be attributed to the growing density of industries round Dahanu, that features the Adani-Dahanu Thermal Energy Mission, industrial clusters within the north and south, building of roadways and rail corridors, and growing concrete built-up space ,” the report notes.
Commenting on these findings, public well being skilled Dr Adithya Pradyumna, stated that these findings are an pressing trigger for fear. “At these excessive air pollution ranges of PM2.5, even wholesome people could be affected, not to mention susceptible aged and younger youngsters. PM2.5 is without doubt one of the fundamental danger components for heart problems (similar to coronary artery illness and stroke) and respiratory illness (similar to persistent obstructive pulmonary illness). Native individuals in these areas have certainly been uncovered to this hazard at harmful ranges, because the measurements have been made at their residences and locations
of labor,” he stated.
Dr Pradyumna additionally concentrated that silica mud could cause everlasting lung injury by way of silicosis, usually resulting in untimely deaths amongst uncovered people. The mix of silica mud, PM2.5 and hint components like nickel and manganese, are probably compromising the respiratory and cardiovascular well being of the inhabitants in Dahanu, regardless of being declared a ‘inexperienced zone’ by the state authorities in 1988.
Dahanu was additional notified by the Middle as an ‘Ecologically Delicate Space’ in 1991, after which as an ‘Ecologically Fragile Space’ in 1999, by way of amendments to the unique notification. In 1996, the Dahanu Taluka Setting Safety Authority (DTEPA) was constituted as a quasi-legal, regulatory physique to implement the mandate of the notification.
Regardless of these steps, the realm is surrounded by polluting industries to the west (the Dahanu Thermal Energy Station), the north (Gujarat Industrial Improvement Company campus in Vapi) and the south (Maharashtra Industrial Improvement Company campus at Tarapur).
A string of linear intrusions together with the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet practice, Mumbai-Vadodara expressway, and the Western Devoted Freight Hall can be arising within the space, and can additional fragment the ecology, as per specialists.