Highlighting the climbing pollution levels in the city, Diwan said, "In the past two decade, the city has witnessed a stupendous progress on the industrial front. This has increased the city's population manifold. However, the infrastructure has not been able to match the growth. Facilities like roads, drainage line and drinking water are falling short."
Diwan said the drainage system in the city had completely collapsed and people were dumping sewage directly into the nearby nullahs. "There are no sewage treatment plants. Roads are narrow causing frequent traffic jams and polluting the environment," he said. He added that the civic body was over utilising Naregaon dumping yard.
"Moreover, the AMC is introducing a public private partnership (PPP) model in every segment which may prove detrimental in the long run," he said.
Diwan also said that the civic body's decision of lifting water from the 45-km long water reservoir (Jayakwadi dam) was not feasible. "It is an expensive affair and may not meet the growing demands. The corporation should tap other local water sources," he suggested. Emphasising on water conservation, Diwan said authorities should increase water storage capacity of lakes in the city.
He appealed to the municipal administration to come out with an elaborate environmental policy similar on the lines of those formulated by the state and Centre. "There has to be community involvement. We should encourage people to keep their surroundings clean. Besides, role of NGOs is also very crucial," he said.
Diwan alleged that the government had bowed down to economic compulsions and set aside environmental issues. "We care inviting foreign direct investment (FDI) at the cost of the environment. Large scale deforestation would lead to more pollution," he said.
Another panelist, Manisha Chaudhari, stressed on creating awareness among all stake holders in the society. She also advocated penalising those who violate rules. "Reducing environmental pollution is a joint effort," she observed.
Chaudhari also said that segregation of garbage (dry and wet) at every household would create wonders. "People should not use plastic bags and other packaging material. We must also discourage use of chemical-based Holi colours, installing plaster of paris Ganesh idols, and excessive use of fireworks on Diwali," she observed. Chaudhari, who runs the NGO - Deepshikha Foundation - added that authorities should promote rainwater harvesting in new buildings.