Taloja: An industrial area or a gas chamber?

Dec 23, 2023

Taloja is Navi Mumbai’s infamous chemical ‘gas chamber’. Residents have lost their sense of smell. The people who already suffer from the ‘anosmia’ seem to have lost their right to live a life in a clean environment, thanks to the licensed pollutants, the infamous environmental offenders. A business is above every human life. 

Recently, I was driving to Lonavala through the Eastern Expressway. At Kalamboli I stopped my vehicle to pick up my friend Pankaj, who accompanied me to Lonavala. The moment he opened the door to get in an obnoxious chemical stink hit my nose. He closed the door quickly as he felt my suffocating discomfort. 

Pankaj lives in Singapore. For that reason, he is not aware of the local atmosphere. The smell was coming from the factories running in the Taloja industrial belt, I could quickly feel it. These factories release toxic fumes at night, spreading throughout Navi Mumbai and its peripheries. The fumes remain in the air throughout the day. The cycle of toxic fumes rides non-stop. People of the region are acquainted with the fumes making themselves unable to feel the toxicity. They are not aware of the risk waiting for them. I noticed a similar situation when I visited chemical factories in Ankleshwar, where the workers lost their sense of smell due to their constant exposure to foul chemical odours. They are teetering to the edge of many fatal health issues.

Hundreds of thousands of people reside in Kharghar, Kalambli, Kamothe, and Taloja of Navi Mumbai. These are the places local development authorities want people to come and settle to decongest Mumbai metro regions. Incidentally, this action turns out to be a gesture of dragging people into the chemical gas chambers. They are subjected to this foul smell daily. The residents include laymen, government officers, wealthy individuals, businessmen and politicians. Children are the first-line sufferers. None has any apprehension about their health! Everyone is hesitant to demand the right to live in a healthy environment they deserve. It appears that money, luxury, and the so-called routine needs have become more important to them than their health. 

Recently, the Maharashtra government released an advisory urging people to refrain from morning walks and stay indoors to avoid exposure to toxic gases. It is disheartening to see that instead of controlling these chemical companies, the government is trying to control the lives of its citizens. It shows that sin business is more important than human life!

People will soon realise the gravity of the situation. Their impassiveness may result in irreversibly ruining their life, which they will realise sooner than later. It is already high time. The damage is already done.