Water contamination: Show-cause notice issued to Igatpuri civic official

  • Vaishnavi Vasudevan, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2015 22:53 IST
Igatpuri’s waste dump pollutes Vaitarna River, which supplies water to Mumbai. (Vidya Subramanian/HT photo)

A day after Hindustan Times reported about the Igatpuri municipal council dumping waste into one of the streams that join the Vaitarna River, which provides water to 17 lakh homes in Mumbai, the town’s civic chief officer Vishakha Motghare on Friday slapped a show-cause notice on the officer in charge of solid waste management, seeking an explanation.

Motghare said the sanitary officer, who is in charge of disposing the garbage generated in Igatpuri, which is around 130km northeast of Mumbai, will be suspended if his reply is unsatisfactory or if he is guilty of dumping garbage in the stream.

HT had reported on Thursday how the Igatpuri municipal council daily dumps domestic waste, bio-medical and industrial waste, animal carcass, toxic liquid and huge amounts of garbage into one of the streams, which locals and experts said, joins the Vaitarna River near the Middle Vaitarna and Upper Vaitarna dams. The western suburbs and parts of island city get their drinking water from these dams.

Watch: How the municipal council may be contaminating drinking water in Mumbai

“I never instructed the department to dump garbage in the stream. It came as a shock to me and I have initiated action against them. The sanitary officer has to reply within three days to the notice issued to him,” said Motghare, adding that the garbage could have been dumped owing to locals’ pressure to stop dumping at the dump yard.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), meanwhile, formed its team that will visit the spot to check for contamination. The team is likely to consist of officials and engineers from the water department and health or environment department. Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta had reacted to the HT report on Thursday. “I have instructed the hydraulic department to visit the location for an inspection. Thereafter, in consultation with the state environment department and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, we will take necessary action against the culprits,” Mehta had said.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), which is responsible for keeping a check on environment pollution in the state, is awaiting communication from the BMC or state government to initiate action. “If a complaint is lodged, we will initiate the necessary action,” said Dilip Khedkar, regional officer of MPCB, Mumbai.

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