Trash chokes Mumbai’s Poisar river, civic body blames slums
Officials from BMC’s storm water drains (SWD) department said pollution in Poisar was too much because of a large number of slums and cattle-sheds along the river banks.
As the first showers arrived, environmental watchdogs have found that despite the civic body’s efforts, the Poisar river is choking with waste and may flood this rainy season. A survey carried out by the NGO Watchdog Foundation along with local residents shows several spots along the seven-kilometre Poisar river are brimming with untreated domestic waste, sewage, and carcasses.
There are instances of open defecation at many locations along the river which originates from Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivli, mainly flows through Kandivli (West), passes through the Charkop mangroves and meets the Marve creek. This is the second spot identified by nature lovers after Juhu, where efforts by the civic body have fallen short to curtail the problem of possible flooding this monsoon.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had claimed that 90% of the city’s rivers had been desilted by May 31. However, pictures submitted by the NGO in the form of a complaint defeated the civic body’s claims on Saturday. “The river is now nothing more than an urban stream, and is contaminated with sewage. BMC spends crores of tax payers’ money every year only for desilting which can be avoided by resource management. However, the will power to cleanse the system is lacking,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watchdog Foundation. “In case of flooding, we will hold BMC responsible,” he said.
Officials from BMC’s storm water drains (SWD) department said pollution in Poisar was too much because of a large number of slums and cattle-sheds along the river banks. “The river has been desilted properly, but the slums and cattle-sheds continue to dump more than 25-30 tonnes of waste daily. We have requested the ward office, the deputy municipal commissioner and other departments to move these tabelas outside the city,” said a senior engineer from SWD department.
In April, members of RiverMarch, a city-based group fighting for revival of rivers, started campaign #Kranti4PoisarRiver where they identified plastic, direct discharge of sewage from public toilets and slums, industrial waste, open defecation, and even dumping of dead animals in the river. “This not only violates environment norms but raises a serious question about human rights and is against the basic standard of living,” said Gopal Jhaveri, member, RiverMarch.