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Despite 50,000 kg of trash being cleared, Mumbai’s Juhu beach remains filthy

Residents want a permanent solution to problem as garbage piles up across the shore

mumbai Updated: May 29, 2018 15:24 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Juhu beach,Versova Beach,World Environment Day
Children play amidst garbage on Juhu beach in Mumbai, on Monday, May 28.(HT PHOTO)

A day after HT reported that while Versova beachgot a clean sweep on Sunday, Juhu beach was swept with trash, the civic body said they doubled the number of beach cleaners on Monday and 50,000kg of trash was cleared. However, Juhu residents said there was a need for a permanent solution to the problem.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials said they deputed 20 more labourers in addition to the 20 already assigned for cleaning the 4-kilometre Juhu beach daily. “Every year May 25 onwards, we generally face this problem of more quantity of trash, mostly plastic, washing ashore. This year, it has also been aggravated by high waves over the past two days,” said Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner. “Ten truckloads of garbage was removed throughout the day, amounting to 50,000 kg.”

On Sunday, as the curtain raiser for World Environment Day (June 5) for which India is the host, thousands gathered at Versova for a beach clean-up drive where two lakh kg garbage was removed. However, a few kilometres away at Juhu beach, the ocean coughed up more than 8,000kg plastic trash which was spotted by local residents. However, no efforts were taken to clean that up.

Gaikwad added that things are likely to change once a new contractor – Spectron Engineers Private Limited –hired by BMC takes over from June 2. They will clean the beach at a cost of Rs21 crore for the next six years. “We have made it clear to the new contractor that if even one metre of any of the beach is dirty, the firm will be fined Rs10 for each square metre. This means the fine could be as high as Rs30,000 a day if it fails to clear the problem areas we have identified,” he said. “Additionally, to arrest the problem of garbage at source, we have installed a track boom to collect domestic waste at the Irla pumping station marine outfall. We will see how well it works this monsoon,” said Gaikwad.

READ: Expect cleaner beaches this monsoon in Mumbai

As a part of the new contract, one new beach comber - a machine which sieves the sand and allows the easy picking of trash and removes oil and tar - along with two existing ones, and 60 labourers will be deployed. There will also be more tractors and trucks, said Gaikwad.

However, residents who spotted the beach being cleaned up on Monday said it was only partially cleared. “The clean-up was done only towards the sandy patches of the beach, and the labourers avoided areas close to the shoreline where plastic trash is still strewn. However, we are hopeful that the new contractor can improve the condition of the beach,” said Paul Creado, Juhu resident who spotted the trash on Sunday.

Mehjabeen Barwani, a member of Juhu Beach Walkers Group, said Juhu residents will meet Gaikwad on Tuesday. “We will ask him to help us with a few more excavator machines and manpower to ensure the beach is cleaned properly before the new contractor takes over. This will help us assess how impactful the latter’s efforts will be,” said Barwani.

First Published: May 29, 2018 15:21 IST