Rather than just going with the flow, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally decided to do something about the woeful state of the city’s rivers. The civic agency, on a pilot basis, will stop all sewage from entering the waters by closing the lines and diverting them to the sewage treatment plants (STPs).
According to BMC records, about 55 per cent of the city’s population inhabits the slums, which do not have any concrete method of disposing their waste water that suffuses the storm water drains (meant to carry only rain water in the monsoons) and then eventually lands in the rivers, contaminating them further. “To improve the water quality in the rivers and further reduce any kind of health problems in the city, we have decided to have a pilot project of diverting all the sewage to the STPs. The rivers are already in a deplorable condition and the drains are clogged with garbage, which needs to be removed,” informed BMC’s standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale. He added that two nullah systems in Malad would be plugged and diverted soon. The project would be functional during the eight months of the year when there are no rains.
The estimated project cost, according to BMC officials, is Rs 10-12 crore for the diversion of two nullah systems, whereas the expenses for changing the courses of nearly 120 such systems is estimated to be around Rs 500-550 crore.“Stop gates would be installed and screens put up to stop the garbage in the nullahs from entering the sewerage lines. There are tonnes of garbage in the city’s nullahs and if that enters the sewerage lines, then the entire system would collapse. Even citizens should refrain from throwing debris in the nullahs; there are BMC officials assigned who penalise people for doing so. The storm water drains should only have rainwater, but today they are full of sewage and garbage,” informed an official from BMC’s sewage department.
He added that this would be a medium-term solution to prevent the water bodies from getting contaminated. “We would identify spots in the nullahs as small, medium and large and then permanently connect them to the STP. There are 17 large, 17 medium, and 27 small spots in Malad zone itself,” informed the official.
On all fours
The city has four rivers Poisar, Mithi, Dahisar and Oshiwara, which are inky and clogged with refuse. The rivers have been narrowed and dirtied by slums and factories that have encroached upon vast stretches and line their banks. Garbage and effluents flow freely in the water.