In Mumbai: Citizens, BMC remove 1.2-lakh-kg trash from Poisar river in two weeks
River March members said the area where the clean-up was conducted is a reserved forest and houses more than 14,000 slumsmumbai Updated: Apr 10, 2017 11:01 IST
Close to 70 citizens and civic body workers removed more than 40,000 kg of trash, mostly comprising plastic, from the Poisar riverbed, across a 100-metre stretch near Krantinagar, Kandivali (East) on Sunday.
This was the second weekend clean-up drive after the group, River March, collected 80,000 kg trash last week. The group aims to rejuvenate all four of the city’s rivers — Poisar, Dahisar, Oshiwara and Mithi.
The Poisar river, which originates at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is polluted more than 100 times the safety limit. Its water is unsafe for human consumption and dangerous for the fish and plants that call it home, found a two-year study complied by Environmental Policy and Research India (EPRI).
EPRI’s nallah restoration report found the levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) — the level of oxygen that affects the quality of water — were as high as 414.73 mg a litre at certain locations along the 7-km river. A BOD of more than 3mg a litre is unfit for human consumption and fish cannot survive in water that has a BOD above 6 mg, according to Central Pollution Control Board guidelines.
River March members said the area where the clean-up was conducted is a reserved forest and houses more than 14,000 slums. “As the civic body and forest department have failed to act against these enroachments, they have grown over the years. Now, they are dumping domestic waste right into the river as they do not have a sewage line at the spot,” said Tejas Shah, a River March member who spearheaded the drive.
Last Sunday, 100 people, including labour contractors hired by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), cleaned the river. This Sunday, the drive was conducted using an excavator machine provided by the BMC and three dumper trucks that made two visits each to the dump. The drive will continue over the next two weekends.
Officials from the local ward office said they were cleaning the area daily. “The storm water drain (SWD) department started cleaning all four rivers from April 1. The process will continue till the onset of the monsoon. Earlier, we would only desilt the rivers, but are now cleaning them,” said Sahebrao Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner, R-South ward. “We will assist citizens over the next two weekends and ensure that no one is injured during the drive,” he added.
At Dhanukarwadi, another spot along the river, a group of citizens calling themselves the ‘tanker group’ carried out a two-hour clean-up drive and collected drums full of empty liquor bottles and a large quantum of plastic. “While the group handpicked the liquor bottles, a BMC excavator machine segregated the plastic, which will be sent to the dump ground after it dries,” said Shah. “Close to 15 truckloads of waste was removed from Dhanukarwadi on Sunday,” he added.