Navi Mumbai: Uran's civic body gets PMO rap over reckless dumping

Updated: Jun 22, 2020, 07:45 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

Activists have been consistently complaining to authorities that garbage dumping in mangroves is impacting people's health

Garbage being deposited in mangroves
Garbage being deposited in mangroves

Taking serious note of complaints by Navi Mumbai-based environmentalists against the Uran Municipal Council (UMC) allegedly dumping garbage on mangroves and near residential areas for 12 years, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has asked the council to take "immediate action" in the matter.

B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation, told mid-day, "There is reckless dumping of garbage and medical waste by the UMC, without thinking of the COVID-19 risk to the over 3,000 people living nearby. This despite revenue department officials registering an FIR against the civic body."

The foundation had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the plight of Bori Pakhadi and Hanuman Koliwada residents. Kumar told mid-day that they do not want to divert the PM's focus from the pandemic but were forced to write to him as local officials refused to budge.

Resident Samir Ashrit had written to the PMO in October 2017, after which the civic body had promised to take proper care. "The civic body and its contractors continued dumping as if in vengeance and started releasing sewer water loaded into small tankers from different parts of the city," said Ashrit. "They are spraying dangerous pesticides on the garbage. This is resulting in toxic fumes," he said.

The residents filed 80 complaints in a day on January 19 this year, forcing the Konkan Divisional Commissioner, who also heads the mangrove committee, to have an FIR filed against the UMC. "Two inspections by combined teams of the revenue and forest departments have confirmed the death of mangroves and the stinking garbage. Yet the UMC did not budge," said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan.

"With the PMO's response, we are hopeful of swift relief for people and the saving of mangroves and wetlands. The dump is catching fire frequently. Taking advantage of the absence surveillance due to COVID-19 duties, the UMC contractors have been spreading the fire," Pawar added.

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