It is no longer far-fetched to imagine pristine clear waters along the city’s coast.
For the first time, the state is making all efforts to clear up at least some of the floating debris in our creeks, lakes and sea. The increasing water pollution along our coasts prompted the Environment Department scratch its head for ideas.
And one of the ideas comes straight from Turkey.
At a meeting held by Environment Minister Ganesh Naik on Tuesday with seven coastal corporations including Mumbai and Thane and 24 councils, the department urged the local bodies to come up with proposals to clean up the waters by purchasing water garbage collection vessels.
Turkey with 8,333 kms of coastline and surrounded by three seas, maintains many such garbage collection besides oil spill recovery vessels. “In India, we do not have the concept of cleaning coastal floating debris. While the local bodies try and keep beaches clean, the same is not extended to waters beyond. The meeting aimed at spreading awareness about manual cleaning of the debris or use of boats,” said Environment Secretary Valsa Nair. If the local bodies give proposals to procure such vessels, the state will help, she added.
The cost of these vessels will range from Rs 4 to Rs 6 crore. They have separate screening for oil spillage, besides for garbage like litter, silt and plastic. Most of these vessels have hydraulically powered and controlled open mesh conveyor systems to lift garbage. These conveyors can skim floating debris up to two and a half feet below water and store garbage by remote controls.
The water quality data of Mumbai’s seafaces reveals pathetic levels of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Dissolved Oxygen (DO). Worli seaface has an average BOD of 25 mg/l and highest of 40 mg/l; Nariman Point has average BOD of 45.5 and highest up to 85. The permissible BOD for commercial fishing waters is 3 mg/l.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand is a chemical procedure to determine how fast biological organisms use up oxygen in a body of water.
Meanwhile, the environment department will issue tenders for the city’s first e-waste facility in February.