Mayor drinks city's most contaminated water

Aug 26, 2012, 07:34 IST | Sujit Mahamulkar

An environmental report prepared by the BMC states that Goregaon, which is also where the Mayor's ward is, receives water that is 26 per cent contaminated

If the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) latest Environmental Status Report for the year 2011-12 is to be believed, the first citizen of Mumbai, Mayor Sunil Prabhu, drinks the most contaminated water in the city.

According to the report, based on the civic laboratory’s findings, the city drinks 16 per cent contaminated water while the highest contamination level 26 per cent is in P-south ward (Goregaon), which also includes the ward under the mayor’s jurisdiction.

After Goregaon, the most congested and densely-populated area of Mumbai, Kalbadevi (C ward), has 25.42 per cent contamination levels. People from Byculla (E ward), Kurla (L ward) and Parel, Lalbaug (R-south ward) consume 21.50 per cent, 21.04 per cent and 19.68 per cent contaminated water respectively.

The lowest contamination level, 10.44 per cent, is in Matunga area (F-north ward).

According to civic laboratory findings, the city drinks 16 per cent contaminated water while the highest contamination level— 26 per cent — is in P-south ward (Goregaon), which comes under Mayor Sunil Prabhu’s jurisdiction. FILE PHOTOs

“Contamination is a serious issue in Goregaon. Most of the time, civic officials don’t attend to complaints unless people follow up personally,” said Sachin Chavan, a resident of Goregaon (W). Squatters Colony, Bhagatsingh Nagar and Teen Dongri are the worst areas for water contamination, added Chavan.

When asked to comment, the mayor was unaware about the report. “I will have to see the report and then find a solution. First I will find out the reasons behind the high contamination levels. It may be due to leakages in the water pipelines that go from the tabelas (buffalo sheds),” he added.

Civic hydraulic engineer Ramesh Bambale claimed that the report was incorrect. “I have not seen the report yet. I have to check on what basis the report has been made. The contamination level could not be more than 13-14 per cent,” Bambale said, adding that 16 per cent was far too much.

However, retired deputy municipal commissioner Prakash Sangilkar was not surprised by the figure. He said, “The ground reality is that the city is surrounded by the waterborne diseases.”

The BMC supplies 3,430 million litres of water every day against the demand of 4,000 million litres every day. The report, which is prepared every year after examining data from the 24 municipal wards, says a lot of the water that reaches households contains bacteria, traces of sewage and mud.

Doctor Speak
“Gastroenteritis, diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis A and C are common waterborne diseases and people have to take precautionary measures,” said Dadar-based general practitioner Dr Naved Pathan. Those with a low immune system are more prone. He suggested, “People should drink boiled and filtered water to avoid waterborne diseases.”

BMC gets to work
The report also mentions the measures the BMC is taking to avoid contamination. They are working on replacing old, corroded pipelines on a war footing. Over 62 km of pipeline have been replaced. Contractors have been appointed in all 16 ward council levels, to plug leakages. Many pipelines are being replaced by tunnels, which are easier to maintain and less prone to ruptures. 

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