Thursday, October 6, 2011

Profits and pollution on an increase.

Abigail Menezes.

No:- 3752

There is much speculated about the land in Mindspace, Malad, which is now considered a hub owing to its Call centers, malls, restaurants and pubs. From it first being a land where mangroves lived, to then turning into a garbage dump, now it has been transformed into one of the most visited and one of the prime areas in the suburbs.

The land first being occupied entirely by mangroves later became a place for residents around the vicinity and passersby to dump garbage. It was later decided that the land would be given to people living below the poverty line, giving them a decent place to stay. Unfortunately various famous construction tycoons saw the land going to waste and thought that is would be a golden opportunity to earn large profits. There is always a rush for land be it small or big and Business and construction tycoons always want to have a part of it. It was obvious that big construction tycoons such as the Raheja's wouldn't want to let such huge chunks of land just go without making huge profits for themselves as the rate of the land was going for a very less price. So after much debate, the Raheja's got hold of the land, practically earning double the amount. This resulted with numerous malls, restaurants and leading call centers, half of which do not have adequate parking. Clearly the authorities thought that malls and prime hubs were more important than rehabilitation housing areas for the poor.

All mangroves have one very special quality – they can live and thrive in saltwater with varying degrees of success. This has been proved many times over, and the tsunami provided more evidence of this fact. This gives us a strong case to protect our mangrove cover, which is systematically being cleared in the name of development. Mangroves, however, are more than just a defence against the sea’s fury. A large number of marine life forms depend on these coastal forests for their food or to breed.

Furthermore, the roots of mangroves prevent silting from entering the sea, which would otherwise damage corals. These forests are also known to reduce pollution levels, as they absorb various elements, including heavy metals. On a more positive note, mangroves also provide us with food, medicines, shelter and firewood.

Hence, with numerous malls, office buildings and residential areas coming up, there has been an increase in pollution as well as consumption of vast amounts of electricity. Pollution has being one of the foremost concerns of the city, shows no signs of improvement if people don’t start taking responsibility. The Malad creek, is being turned into a garbage dump because people keep throwing waste material there. The creek leading to Versova, literally carries a harsh stench while people pass through that road. Residents complained of an increase in the number of asthma cases and allergic coughs. An asthma patient said her health has deteriorated in the past year. Asthma is one of the diseases that residents are facing among Malaria, Dengu and Viral infections. With the increase in pollution, Hydrogen sulfide gas is let out. Because of which, gold, silver and metal items in resident’s homes are turning black. Moreover, pollution of such kind, is just bad for health and the amount of fresh air is diminishing.

“The link road that stretches until Andheri, always experiences issues of heavy traffic. Also with the upcoming of the new mall, Infinity 2, the traffic is just going to worsen the situation. Mindspace is a large layout of office blocks at Chincholi Bunder, West Malad. Marsh & salt pan lands at Chincholi belonging to the F.E. Dinshaw Trust were given to the C.L. Raheja Group of Companies on lease for development. The land is broken up into several different layouts: Mindspace, Interface, etc.” A resident at Malad said.

Coming to the consumption of electricity, places like Thane, Mulund, Kalyan etc. experience load shedding and do not receive adequate amounts of electricity while in Malad electricity is used without consideration. Electricity is wasted.

"Mindspace has over 8 million sq. ft. of intelligently planned business district of international standards executed by one of the world's most prestigious planners - Skidmore Ownings & Merrill a 1,000 person, world-renowned architectural firm, architects of Chicago's Sears Tower and John Hancock Tower, San Francisco's Bank of America headquarters, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Freedom Tower, Canary Wharf London, Burj Dubai, Jin Mao Tower,etc. Mindspace is designed to offer a perfect mix of work, living and lifestyle amenities, with ample, state-of-the-art provisions for entertainment." A construction officer at Mindspace said.

It all comes down to the rich getting richer and poor stuck to where their supposed to belong. There have been various attempts to take this matter up and actually rehabilitate the people who deserve it but all in vain. What remains and what is still coming up despite all of this, is more malls and more profit making businesses. How and when will things improve, one would not have an answer. But on a positive note, a group of 600 determined individuals from Mindspace, Interface and Evershine Grander complexes in Malad around that area haven’t given up. They have planted more than 3,000 trees along the creek to create awareness about the disappearing mangroves. They have organised drives to remove garbage from the area. So in spite of having an inconsiderate few, there does exist, concerned citizens who want to make Malad, a better place.

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