Though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is patting its back for overall control in the water contamination level in the city, citizens and activists are not convinced and have raised doubts over its annual environment status report (ESR) for 2015-16.
The report showed that the average water contamination level is 4.6% in 2015-16 compared to last year’s 4.5%, preceded by 10.8% in 2013-14. HT had reported on Friday how Mulund, Bandra and Dongri get the dirtiest water with contamination levels as high as 13%, 10% and 8%.
Seeking more transparency, citizens have alleged that the BMC report is far removed from reality and has under-reported water contamination complaints. They also expressed reservations over the methodology as the report does not specify how many water samples the BMC collected from each ward.
Moreover, the report does not highlight the actual number corresponding to the average water contamination level.
For example, the ESR report recorded a contamination level of 2 -5% for M-east (Govandi, Mankhurd), N (Gharkopar), R-south (Kandivli), C (Kalbadevi, Bhuleshwar). However, citizens residing in these areas remain sceptical of theses figures.
Another surprise is a 2% contamination level in Bhuleshwar and Kalbadevi which have oldest pipeline network.
Asif Jogle, a citizen activist from Govandi which gets most number of water complaints, said, “The civic body’s figure of 5% in M-east ward is misguiding. In the last one year, areas such as Govandi, Mankhurd, Shivaji Nagar, Rafi Nagar have got dirtiest drinking water.”
Contaminated water has contents such as sewage water, mud and E-coli. It can cause diarrhoea, gastro and other water-borne diseases.
Citizens from areas such as Ramabai Nagar and Lallubhai Compound in Ghatkopar had similar complaints.
“There is no one to cross-check the civic body’s figures,” Rajkumar Sharma, an activist from AGNI, said, adding that the illegal connections are to be blamed for the water crisis.
Brushing aside the scepticism, a BMC official defended the report and said the water contamination had been brought down in the city due to regular repair of pipelines.