Residents’ group cleans polluted Kharghar pond
In another example of citizens’ power, residents have taken up an initiative to save the pond at Sector 35 in Kharghar — one of the largest fresh water bodies in the city.
On May 12, around 25 members of a citizens’ group — Lake Citizens Group — took up cleaning of the pond. The pond is not able to hold water during monsoon.
Citizens removed the waste which was dumped into the pond. The collected trash was enough to fill two mini trucks.
The next drive has been scheduled for Sunday, May 20.
The drive was spearheaded by Kharghar resident Sudhir Patel, 48.
Patel was irked due to the apathy shown by the planning body, City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), and wanted to draw its attention towards the issue through the clean-up drive.
He hopes that Cidco would now take action.
“In order to highlight the issue, we have started the drive. Although we will have planned more drives, the officials should also be reminded that it is their duty to ensure that the pond is clean,” said Patel.
“The waste removed out from the pond over a period of time is a clear indication that officials have deliberately turned a blind eye towards the issue,” he said.
The group handed over a letter to Cidco officials who promised action to ensure that dumping of waste is stopped.
Vilas Bankar, executive engineer Cidco, said, “There is no plan to clean the pond before the rains. But we have kept it in our proposal.”
The Panvel City Municipal Corporation (PCMC) had provided residents with logistics for the clean-up drive. They said they would continue to support the residents in their initiatives as well, authorities said.
Deepali Labhe, 45, who lives in Sector 35, said that she keeps a watch on the pond from her fifth floor house. “The pond is in front of my building and I can see that it is dying.Vehicles are being washed every day at the pond, leading to more pollution. There is no marine life now,” said Labhe.
Aaba Vithal Ranaware, 57, a Juinagar resident and an environmentalist, said, “ I have seen the city’s transformation. There was a time when the city had plenty of small ponds near Parsik hill in Kharghar. The ponds would get filled with water during monsoon, and the water stock would be available even during summer.”
“Blame it on concretisation and apathy of authorities and citizens, we are left with very few water bodies now. These are also on the verge of dying,” Ranaware said.
“It is a positive step taken by the residents and hopefully it will yield positive result,” said Ranaware, who has been a Navi Mumbai resident for more than four decades.
Lake Citizens Group had also taken up sapling plantation drive across Hyde Park road in Kharghar in 2017. They have been taking care of the saplings ever since.
The group intends to plant more saplings around the periphery of the pond to keep a check on rampant dumping.
The plantation would make sure that natural habitat of flora and fauna thrive here.
Residents hope to see migratory birds visiting the pond again. “It is time to emphasise on the need to clean water bodies. Though we have lost much of the pond, I am hopeful that we would be able to revive it,” said, Amarnath Singh, 35, a sector 35 resident.
The group needs Cidco’s help in the coming days as they would need JCB to dig out debris from the pond.