- Mumbai’s air quality has been declining for a number of reasons, including unfavorable weather and emissions from a variety of sources, with dust emissions from construction activities emerging as a major contributor.
- This article will discuss the various steps that the construction sector can take to mitigate the crisis.
Role of Construction Activities:
- PM10, a pollutant that can enter human lungs and has a diameter of 10 microns or smaller, is greatly increased by construction activity.
- PM10 has been the main cause of Maharashtra’s capital’s bad air quality index readings for the past few weeks.
Surge in Construction Activities
- Mumbai is presently experiencing a significant transition that calls for the building of vital infrastructure.
- According to recent statistics, there has been a significant upsurge in construction activities in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) area.
- The growth has been 68% since 2022 and 142% since 2021.
- There has been a 98% increase since 2021 and a 36% increase since 2022 in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
- The construction industry has become a significant source of dust emissions in the city, with over 11,000 private building construction sites and a plethora of public projects like the Metro, Mumbai Trans Harbor Link (MTHL), Navi Mumbai Airport, highways, and utility infrastructure.
Impact of Construction Processes
- Fugitive emissions are produced throughout the demolition and building processes by a variety of operations including hammering, crushing, cutting, drilling, and mixing.
- If left unchecked, these emissions spread into the atmosphere and become dust particles that land on surfaces.
- Pollution can result from human activity, wind movement, and outside influences re-suspending these dust particles.
- These pollutants constitute a serious health risk in residential environments, particularly for vulnerable groups.
Measures for a Transition
Even though construction activities is a contributing factor to air pollution, it can also be mitigated. The construction industry must change from its current methods to clean-air strategies that put an emphasis on reducing emissions.
Some of the measures which can be taken are:
- Mapping Pollutant Sources: Finding hotspots for action can be aided by identifying the sources of pollutants in airsheds, the regions with restricted dispersion of pollutants, and the creation of thorough emission inventories.
- Institutional Setup for Coordination: For efficient pollution control, an institutional framework that facilitates regional coordination amongst cities must be established.
- Engaging Stakeholders: Including every ecosystem stakeholder can help the pollution reduction agenda progress.
- Standard Procedures and Mitigation Measures: Emissions can be decreased by requiring standard operating procedures for builders and mitigating measures for construction activities through regulations.
- Enforcement and Real-Time Data: High polluters can be targeted by putting enforcement measures in place and using real-time air quality monitoring sensors at building sites that are connected to a central server.
- Sensitization and Education: To guarantee that new methods are used, it is crucial to make builders, contractors, engineers, architects, and project management consultants aware of the changes.
- Promoting Innovation: For the purpose of reducing emissions, it might be extremely important to promote innovation and commercially viable construction technologies and equipment.
- Recognition and Knowledge Sharing: It can encourage others to adopt similar methods when builders and construction sites are identified as applying mitigation measures and their techniques are shared.
Balancing Economic Growth and Air Quality
- As the second-largest contributor to India’s GDP, the construction industry’s economic impact must be taken into account while tackling air pollution caused by building.
- It could be necessary to gradually implement these measures, concentrating first on developing methods and finding answers.
- More stringent enforcement protocols ought to be implemented over time.
- Mumbai’s thriving real estate sector may help the city prosper economically and position itself as a leader in air pollution mitigation.
- Indian cities may be able to achieve sustainable development if they adopt cleaner building techniques.