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Waste from Mumbai dumpyard killing fish in Thane creek, fishermen complain to civic body

The Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP), an umbrella body of fishermen, has said that fish catch has dropped by as much as 90% in the past few years.

mumbai Updated: Aug 01, 2017 07:33 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,Thane creek,water pollution
As dumpers enter Mulund landfill, the sewage and leachate entering the Thane creek has led to death of several hundred mangrove trees(HT Photo)

Sewage flowing in from the Kanjurmarg dumping ground in Mumbai is killing fish species in the Thane creek, fishermen from the region have told the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

In a complaint to the solid waste management (SWM) department of the BMC, which manages the dumping ground, the Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan (SEAP), an umbrella body of fishermen, has said that fish catch has dropped by as much as 90% in the past few years.

Fishermen have alleged that leachate has been entering the creek from the dumping ground through two drains. Leachate is a liquid produced when water mixes with decomposing garbage. It can contain dissolved toxic substances, which can enter water bodies or percolate underground into water tables.

“More than 1,000 fishing families have been deprived from their daily fish catch because of the polluted water,” said Nandkumar Pawar, head, SEAP. “While Kanjurmarg is the main source of untreated waste, even the Deonar and Kopri dumping grounds are adding to the pollution. We were promised by the state and civic body that there will be scientific solid waste disposal at Kanjurmarg. But, the reality is quite the opposite.”

Even as BMC claims there is no outlet from the Kanjurmarg dumping ground, an outfall is seen from the walls of the Kanjurmarg dumping ground releasing sewage, leachate into the Thane creek (HT Photo)

Pawar said hundreds of mangrove trees had died close to the dumping ground, after leachate stagnated at the creek, choking the roots of these trees. He said fish species such as – catfish, tilapia and shrimp – were the only three ones remaining in the area.

“The spotted scat fish, barramundi, goldbanded jobfish, all crab species, oysters, clams and many other species have gone missing from the creek. The area is home to 40,000 flamingos and other wetland birds and soon the effect will be seen on them as well,” said Pawar. “Our community is paying the price for this pollution problem that the civic body has been neglecting.”

Environmentalist Stalin D, who visited the site, confirmed that sewage and leachate was being discharged from the dumping ground. “There should be an independent enquiry into the operations of the Kanjurmarg dumping ground and the discharge of the untreated sewage entering the creek, between Kanjurmarg and Vikhroli, must be stopped,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials from BMC’s SWM denied the allegations. “There is no outlet to the Thane creek from the Kanjurmarg dumping ground. There is no sewage being discharged either from this landfill and there are bioreactors that treat the waste,” said Vijay Balamvar, deputy municipal commissioner, BMC’s SWM department.

First Published: Jul 31, 2017 16:29 IST