Struggling with his Elephant foot (Filariasis disease) for over a month, Sanal Kumar (63), a resident of Celestia building near the Malad creek, blames the civic body dump yards in his area for his health woes.
Filariasis, a rare disease in the city, is caused by mosquitoes, which are in abundance at Malad creek because of the unmanaged garbage that surrounds it. “I go for my routine walks across the road adjoining the garbage dump,” Kumar said.
Two sites located at the creek are being used as dump yards. They bear Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) signboards that say ‘waste segregation locations’ and are filled with garbage.
Women workers segregate garbage at one of the location, whereas the other location is used as a garage for BMC garbage compactors (dumper vehicles). The compactors belong to a company called JWS, which is working for the civic body.
However, residents in the area allege both sites are illegal because they violate the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms.
“There were mangroves here earlier and the yards are clearly on CRZ-I, which prohibits non-forest activities,” said Stalin D, director of Vanashakti, a non-government organisation that has conducted a detailed survey of the area.
“Dead animal corpses, oil and chemicals are dumped into the Malad creek from these yards,” said Jay Verma, secretary of Celestia. “Garbage is being thrown at these locations, probably by JWS, to save fuel used to reach dump yards in Deonar, Mulund and Kanjurmarg,” he added.
Two months ago, the Malad Creek Side Advanced Locality Management (MCSALM) organised a protest against the dumping of wastes in the creek.
They registered a non-cognisable (NC) complaint against JWS with the Malad police station in September this year. “The company workers were taken into custody and released within hours,” said Poornima D’Lima, member, MCSALM.
Even after repeated messages and calls, Vijay Balanwar, assistant commissioner of P (north) ward, did not respond.
Chief engineer (solid waste management) BP Patil said, “Ward officer (assistant commissioner) is the authority responsible for the issue. Waste segregation plants should always be at proper locations.”
Kiran Acharekar, deputy municipal commissioner of Zone IV said, “We need to check who has put up the signboards. Necessary action will be taken, if required.” Although, in a letter to the MCSALM received two days ago, BMC stated that JWS has been fined and it now has the rights to segregate waste.
Vidya Thakur, BMC corporator of the area said, “I am not responsible for the internal BMC activities.”