Mumbai: BMC, slums putting cold water on activists' river revival work

Mar 14, 2017, 09:59 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Members of River March group allege civic body has been dumping mud in the waterbody and has done nothing to stop slum dwellers from releasing waste water into it

BMC, which is constructing a bridge over the river, has been dumping mud in it
BMC, which is constructing a bridge over the river, has been dumping mud in it

City's activists, who have started a campaign to save the rivers in the metro, are upset that their hard work is going down the drain - not only has the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) dumped mud into the Poisar river for the construction of a vehicular bridge over it, but the authorities are also not making much effort to solve the problem of waste water being allegedly released into it from the nearby slums and societies.

The BMC is constructing a bridge above the waterbody that will connect to Kandivli station. One of the pillars of the bridge will have to be constructed in the river, and so, the flow of the river has been temporarily diverted by putting mud in it to enable the machinery to reach the spot.

The 13-km-long river starts in Sanjay Gandhi National Park and enters the creek in Kandivli (West).

Flow interrupted
Activists and volunteers associated with the River March group had visited the location, after which they were promised by the civic officials present at the spot that the mud would be removed once the pillar construction was done and that this would not restrict the flow of river during monsoon.

A member of River March group, Sagar Vira, said that when he visited the location a couple of days back he was shocked to see waste water from the nearby slums still being released into the river as well as the cleaning of the waterbody done by the authorities not being up to the mark.

"We hope that the work is completed before monsoon and the mud removed. While taking a round near the river, I was shocked to see that a lot of waste was still there in the river, which also needs to be removed; to add to that, there was waste water from the nearby slums being released into the river," said Vira.

Manmade disaster
On one side of the river, between the railway tracks and SV Road in Kandivli (West), there are many slum pockets, which have been there since years, polluting the river by releasing waste water into it. River March members have been documenting this for the last three years, clicking pictures of waste water from public toilets along the river being released into it.

In the past, the members had also protested against BMC's concretisation work of the riverbed. In February, they had submitted a complaint on that to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

Officer of R-south ward SR Gaikwad said, "It is true that the work of the bridge is going on, but it will be completed before monsoon, and the mud inside will be removed."

When asked if action will be taken against those releasing waste water and throwing garbage in the river, Gaikwad said, "BMC cleans the river periodically; we have even spread awareness in the slum pockets and nearby areas to educate people that throwing of garbage in the river is not a good thing. If we find anyone releasing waste water into the river or throwing garbage, then action will be taken."

Warning bell

River March is a citizen initiative to revive the Poisar, Dahisar, Oshiwara and Mithi rivers. The 2014-15 report compiled by the EPRI had said Poisar river was a hundred times more polluted than the safety limit and that these findings were a conclusion of the Biochemical Oxygen Demand parameters measured during the Nallah Restoration Report.

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