Times of India – Smoke from ship-breaking yard irks dock officials, residents

(Written by Bhavika Jain)

29 October 2012 - MUMBAI: Smoke and foul odour from the ship-breaking yard near Dockyard Road has sparked health concerns among officials from  Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).

The ship-breaking yard, popularly known as Darukhana, is in close proximity to the Mazagon Dock, and illegal burning of metal and rubber at the yard leaves a foul smell in the locality, irritating dock officials as well as local residents.

Following complaints by senior MDL officials, the  Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) inspected the site and noticed that material was being burnt illegally at the yard. The board has since reported the matter to the Sewri police. It was also noticed that untreated waste left after burning the leftovers of ships was being dumped directly into the sea.

“We can smell burning rubber all the time,” said an MDL official. MDL employees have raised questions over how polluting activities are being carried out in the open without any precautions. The ship-breaking yard is a protected area and such activities cannot be possible there without the involvement of insiders, sources said.

The ship-breaking yard is owned and controlled by the  Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT). On an average, there are three to four ships berthed at the yard on any given day and when the MPCB inspected the area and carried out ambient quality tests, it found that the smoke from the site was adversely affecting the health of the locals and the ambient environment. “Most of the environment quality quotients were higher than the prescribed limits,” said an MPCB official.

MbPT officials said they have asked security personnel around the ship-breaking yard to be more vigilant. “We are also trying to address the problem at the earliest,” said an MbPT official.