Mumbai builders ordered to erect 35ft-high metal walls around all sites

Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel, fading in the smog (Tonicstudio/Dreamstime)
In a bid to improve Mumbai’s dust-choked air, its city council has passed legislation requiring contractors to install 35ft-high metal enclosures around any site larger than an acre, and to wrap buildings under construction entirely with plastic or fabric sheeting.

Smaller sites will have to put up 25ft-high hoardings.

According to local media, the measures, which are expected to affect around 6,000 projects, also mandate the fitting of sprinkler systems and anti-smog guns within 30 days of the ordinance’s publication.

Sites will also have to fit air-quality monitoring devices.

The rules are a response to Mumbai’s high level of pollution, particularly that caused by fine particles in the air. In February, the city was ranked as the second most polluted in the world after Sarajevo.

Its air quality index is consistently in the red zone, indicating harmful effects for some in the general population and serious effects for those sensitive to air quality, such as asthma sufferers.

As well as construction sites, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced that it would monitor large industrial sites such as the Tata Power Plant and the Rashtriya Chemicals refinery.

IS Chahal, a BMC commissioner, said the construction measures were intended to stop the spreading of dust. He said: “We will issue standard operating procedures and guidelines for ensuring better air quality.”

He added that any infringements of the new regulations would be met with stop-work orders.

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