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World environment day: Mumbai civic body rids Mithi river of toxic foam, hyacinth after HT report

Mumbai city news: HT had reported that large quantities of untreated domestic waste were being deposited at the river, resulting in a toxic foam

mumbai Updated: Jul 03, 2017 15:54 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Mithi river,white foam
An excavator clearing water hyacinth from the Mithi river on Saturday.(HT Photo)

Mumbaiites need no longer worry about the poisonous white foam that had surfaced on the Mithi river. The civic body on Saturday not only cleaned the river, but also removed the water hyacinths that were choking it and hindering its flow.

The move came two days after Hindustan Times reported that large quantities of untreated domestic waste were being deposited at the river in Andheri. The resultant foam contained noxious substances that could harm people, birds and animals, said experts. Citizens said they had spotted this dangerous foam — similar to that which had surfaced on two of Bangalore’s lakes last year — along the riverbanks in Saki Naka, Andheri; and Sahar village, Santacruz.

Officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) storm water drains (SWD) department said work would be completed by the end of this week. “After newspaper reports identified foam at Mithi, we directed local officers to remove it immediately,” said a senior civic official. “Between Friday and Saturday, an excavator machine removed water hyacinth from a half-a-kilometre stretch from Ashok Nagar and Marol Military Road up to Saki Naka Bridge.”

The toxic foam on the surface of the Mithi river. (HT Photo)

Non-governmental organisation (NGO) Watchdog Foundation, which had filed a complaint over the river’s state, said the BMC took cognisance of HT’s report and initiated the clean-up. “We are thankful to Hindustan Times for highlighting this serious environmental concern. The BMC is finally paying attention to the areas where slum dwellers dump the most sewage into the water,” said Nicholas Almeida, trustee, Watchdog Foundation.

HT had also reported that a private builder had dumped close to 200 truckloads of debris in the middle of the river close to Ashok Nagar in Andheri. “The civic body has started removing debris from various parts of the river,” said Almeida.

“It is shocking that the civic body only acts when people file complaints and newspapers carry reports. The river should have been cleaned more than a month ago,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee. “The Mithi River Development Authority needs to submit a detailed report of what efforts have been taken to clean the river. The results will be reflected during the monsoon, which is just days away.”

The 15-km Mithi river originates at Powai and meets the Arabian sea at Mahim creek. It flows through residential and industrial complexes in Powai, Saki Naka, Kurla and Mahim.

First Published: Jun 03, 2017 16:04 IST