Pune river pollution: MPCB sends eighth show cause notice to PMC, PCMC

Updated on Sep 02, 2021 04:24 PM IST

The board is seeking a report on compliance with the steps taken by it to curb pollution in the rivers under its jurisdiction

Water pollution in Mula river at Kalyani Nagar in Pune. (HT PHOTO)
Water pollution in Mula river at Kalyani Nagar in Pune. (HT PHOTO)
ByNadeem Inamdar

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) this week sent a show cause notice to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) seeking a report on compliance with the steps taken by it to curb pollution in the rivers under its jurisdiction.

The notice stated that the PMC should reply as to why necessary action should not be initiated against it under the Water (P and CP) Act 1974; Air (P and CP) Act 1981; and Hazardous and other waste management and trans-boundary movement (M and TM) Rules 2018. On its part, the PMC said that it will reply to the notice seeking a compliance report.

Sanjay Jagtap, regional officer of the MPCB, in its report said, “Given the poor quality of water, we have issued notices to PMC and PCMC this week regarding failure on their part in using the mandated 25% budgetary allocation to curb river pollution. Earlier too, we had filed a case against both civic bodies and had issued guidelines regarding the same.”

This is the eighth notice issued to the PMC in the past four years and the second one this year. Previously, green tribunals have slapped a fine of Rs8 crore on the civic body for polluting rivers. Notwithstanding the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT’s) explicit warning, the PMC has continued to operate the garbage processing plant at Sinhagad road and is still engaged in large-scale dumping of garbage on the Mutha riverbed. After locals and environmental activists complained, MPCB officials even visited the spot and sought an explanation from PMC officials in May this year. The MPCB has also been issuing notices to the PMC for dumping debris and releasing sewage into the rivers under its jurisdiction.

PMC executive engineer and compliance in-charge, Pramod Unde, said, “Currently, we don’t have maximum sewage treatment to process the sewage flowing into the river. Also, the necessary compliance is being carried out by constructing a sewage treatment plant (STP) which will take time. This is a follow-up notice which the MPCB has sent, seeking compliance from us. We will send a compliance report to the MPCB authorities at the earliest.”

As per the 2018 MPCB report, the Mula-Mutha river which flows for 22km through Pune city is Maharashtra’s second-most polluted river after the Mithi river in Mumbai and has been found to contain human and animal excreta three times more than the safe limit. The MPCB study revealed that levels of faecal coliform content (an indication of human and animal excreta); biochemical oxygen demand (oxygen levels for aquatic life to survive); and dissolved oxygen in the Mula-Mutha river are more than the safe limit.

In 2019, civic rights’ activist Sarang Yadwadkar filed a petition in the NGT and revealed the 12 dumping spots in the PMC, PCMC and Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA). The NGT took cognisance of the same and appointed a five-member committee along with deputing MPCB as the nodal agency, while warning the municipal commissioners of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad against further dumping of debris or any other waste, including construction waste, into the rivers.

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