Air pollution rises in Mumbai as city becomes major hub for construction

Air pollution rises in Mumbai as city becomes major hub for construction

Air pollution rises in Mumbai as city becomes major hub for construction

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By: Pune Pulse

October 26, 2023

Pune: According to data collected by research firm Liases Foras, the ongoing real estate construction activity in Mumbai covers an area of approximately 3.24 crore square feet, which is equivalent to about five times the built-up area of Nariman Point.

As a result, the city has transformed into a massive construction site, causing suffocation and discomfort for its residents.

During the peak of the pandemic, the BMC reduced the substantial premiums that developers are required to pay by half. This discount was extended for a year and was aimed at providing relief to the construction industry, which was severely impacted by COVID-19. Developers capitalized on this opportunity and expedited the clearance of their project files by paying only half of the premium amount.

According to a report by Liases Foras, the BMC limit of Mumbai has experienced a 68% increase in annual incremental construction since 2022 and a 142% increase since 2021. Additionally, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) has seen a growth of 36% since FY 22 and 98% since FY 21.

The city is currently experiencing the detrimental consequences of these constructions, which manifest in the presence of a vast and noxious haze that looms over the urban landscape. Particularly in the western suburbs, namely Bandra, Khar, and Santacruz, the constant movement of cement and debris trucks through the narrow lanes is a common sight as numerous plots undergo redevelopment. As a result of the COVID sops granted to builders, the wealthiest civic body in India has amassed a staggering 15,000 crore in project premiums.

Mumbai, once known for its vibrant atmosphere, now struggles to breathe as it has been transformed into an expansive zone dedicated to real estate development. Since the implementation of the state’s 2021 COVID-19 sop, a total of 780 projects have been approved in the Bandra-Andheri belt. Additionally, in the eastern suburbs spanning from Mulund to Ghatkopar and from Chembur to Kurla, 834 approvals have been granted. Among the various wards overseen by the BMC, T ward (Mulund-West) will contribute the largest supply of built-up area, amounting to 1.5 crore square feet.

In 2021, the wards encompassing Borivali, Bhandup, Andheri, and Parel-Dadar are projected to witness a substantial supply of over 1 crore sq ft. This surge in construction activity has been fueled by the approval of 2,473 building project files by the BMC, resulting in a remarkable premium fee collection of Rs 15,000 crore for India’s largest and wealthiest civic administration.

The frenetic pace of construction primarily revolves around the redevelopment of ageing buildings and housing societies, where low-rise structures are being replaced by towering skyscrapers. However, this rapid urbanization has contributed significantly to the deteriorating air quality in Mumbai.

Overall, the construction boom in Mumbai, driven by various factors, has resulted in a significant increase in supply and economic growth. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the adverse impact on air quality and take necessary measures to mitigate pollution levels.