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Bombay high court asks BMC to reveal its sea pollution control strategy

93% of sea water pollution around the city was caused by the discharge of untreated sewage

mumbai Updated: Jul 30, 2018 23:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai sea pollution,Mumbai plastic waste,Juhu beach
Municipal workers clean plastic waste on Juhu beach.(HT PHOTO)

The Bombay high court on Monday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file an affidavit disclosing the steps taken by its officials to prevent the pollution of sea water, especially to stop the discharge of untreated sewage directly into the Arabian Sea. The court asked the civic body to file the affidavit within two weeks.

“You will have to come out with some solutions to what has happened recently,” division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla told senior advocate Anil Sakhare, who represented the civic body in the court. The bench was referring to recent incident of tonnes of untreated sewage getting back on the shore along Marine Drive.

It was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) – Citizen Circle for Social Welfare and Education – which complained about the “dismal condition of coastal water, polluted to the most extreme level, making it dangerous to entire ecosystem and public at large.”

The PIL highlighted the extremely poor water quality index (WQI) of the coastal waters, making the city’s shoreline one of the most polluted shorelines in the world. The NGO relied on the analysis of the coastal waters conducted by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to highlight the level of pollution.

According to the analysis, the water quality index (WQI) of sea water at Juhu, Girgaum and Haji Ali is 44, 45 and 45.2 respectively. It was 45.2 at Mahim, 46.1 at Worli Sea Face and 46.8 at Nariman Point – hinting high-level presence of pollutants all along the seas. The WQI for water in Mithi River was at its worst – 28 – when the readings were taken in October last year.

According to the MPCB, about 655 Million Litres per Day (MLD) of untreated sewage was being directly discharged to Mithi river and into the sea around Mumbai. 93% of sea water pollution around the city was caused by the discharge of this untreated sewage along with waste directly thrown into the sea from some slums and other localities.

The remaining 7% of pollution is directly attributable to the industrial effluents discharged in Mithi river and the creeks in Mumbai, as per MPCB.

In this backdrop, the court said that the civic body must find out some solution to the problem of direct discharge of untreated sewage into the sea and file an affidavit disclosing the steps taken to prevent accumulation of tonnes of untreated sewage along Marine Drive almost every monsoon.

It has now posted the PIL for further hearing on August 10.

First Published: Jul 30, 2018 23:44 IST