Mumbai Buzz: Two die while cleaning sewer | Measles cases touch 432…and more

Weekly Mumbai news recap: Steps suggested to rein in pollution; BMC liable for open manhole deaths; city beautification projects and more.

Worrying AQI levels call for an action plan

Mumbai’s average air quality index (AQI) has consistently been in the “Poor” and “Very Poor” levels this week. The stagnant winds, low temperature and high moisture accumulate and keep pollutants in the air longer. In response, the 24 wards have been asked to take remedial measures advised by Airavat Enviro Engineers and Consultants.

The consultancy has suggested the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) take the following steps: clean dust and sprinkle water on roads; introduce a ban on open garbage dumping and burning; monitor construction sites, heavy potholed roads and industrial areas; direct commercial hubs to switch to cleaner fuels like PNG or electric ovens or install an air pollution system.

Source: Hindustan Times

Toxic fumes in sewer kill two conservancy workers

Two men died after inhaling toxic fumes from a sewer they had stepped in to clean. Another man, who also fell unconscious got injured but survived. No protective gear and gas masks were provided to them.

The deceased, Vijay Hansda (29) from Jharkhand and Sandip Hanbe (35) from Airoli, were called to clean a blocked drain in Rabale MIDC, Navi Mumbai, in which chemical companies have been allegedly discharging waste. The site supervisor was Dattatre Giridhari, appointed by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) contractor Bicton of India. He has since been arrested for causing death by negligence and is currently out on bail.

Source: The Times of India

A women stepping on a manhole cover in Mumbai as she walks
Manhole covers are stolen frequently, as they’re made out of heavy iron worth Rs 2,500 and Rs 10,000. Pic: Gopal MS, Mumbai Paused

BMC responsible for deaths due to open manholes: Bombay HC

Hearing a slew of petitions regarding the increasing potholes and open manholes on Wednesday, the Bombay High Court held the BMC responsible for any harm caused by open manholes.

The division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja was hearing a contempt petition by the lawyer Ruju Thakker on the BMC’s failure to repair potholes on all arterial roads and set up a grievance redressal mechanism. While the BMC’s advocate Anil Sakhare answered that work to close all manholes is ongoing on a “war-footing basis,” any harm caused till then will be borne by BMC officials. The bench also instructed the BMC to use technology to monitor manhole covers in the city and iron grills for extra protection.

Source: The Indian Express

Measles outbreak continues

As of December 8th, the total cases of measles in Mumbai is at 432. 36% of beds in municipal hospitals are occupied by suspected and confirmed cases, with two patients among them currently on ventilator support. The total number of deaths reported from the MMR is 14.

To combat the outbreak, the state government is kickstarting a special vaccination drive for measles-rubella from December 15th. It will be split into two phases till January 25th, and all unvaccinated children from 9 months to 5 years of age will be given two doses with a four-week gap. Meanwhile, only 5% of the children eligible for the outbreak response immunisation (ORI) dose have received it till December 6th. Officials say the drive will pick up steam in the coming days.

Source: Mid-day

Read more: Missed vaccines, misinformation and other gaps highlighted by Mumbai’s measles outbreak

Mumbai to be beautified for G20 summit

On Thursday, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated Mumbai’s beautification projects with a bhoomi pooja at the Gateway of India. With it, 187 beautification works have begun after their announcement two months ago.

The announcement comes on the heels/in anticipation the upcoming sessions of the G20 summit, the first of which will take place in Mumbai. Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad will also host a few sessions, but not more than Mumbai. On the beautification project’s agenda: illumination of important buildings, beaches and gardens; beautification of roads junctions, flyovers and skywalks; daily cleaning of beaches, public toilets and roads; speedy construction of 10,000 toilets and washing machines in slums; shopping malls in every constituency, etc.

Source: The Indian Express

[Compiled by Sabah Virani.]

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