Untreated sewage continues to deface Ulhas river

Updated: Mar 16, 2019, 19:30 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Photos taken by environmentalist and a complaint filed by him reveals civic bodies are doing nothing to prevent the water body's degradation

Untreated sewage continues to deface Ulhas river
The chamber through which dirty water flows to the sewage treatment plant is broken

When the case related to the rising pollution level of the Ulhas River had come up in the Supreme Court, the commissioners of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) and Ambarnath Municipal Council (AMC) had said that all steps were being taken to prevent the discharge of untreated sewage into the water body.

However, the reality on ground appears to be quite different. A couple of pictures clicked by an environmentalist and a complaint filed by him reveals that the civic bodies are doing nothing to prevent the river's degradation, as untreated sewage continues to flow into its waters near Ambarnath.

The polluted Ulhas River
The polluted Ulhas River

Taking a serious note of this problem, Environmentalist Stalin D, who has been fighting to protect the river, has sent the complaint along with some geo-tagged photos to the commissioners of UMC and AMC, environment secretary, secretary of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, regional officer of Kalyan MPCB and secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Speaking to mid-day, Stalin from NGO Vanashakti, said, "The UMC and AMC continue to pollute and degrade the Ulhas River despite the fact that the respective commissioners had submitted before the SC that all steps were being taken to prevent discharge of untreated sewage into the water body. However, the situation on ground is quite different."

The river is infested with water hyacinths, an indication of its rising pollution level
The river is infested with water hyacinths, an indication of its rising pollution level

He further said, "At Ambarnath, the chamber through which dirty water flows to the sewage treatment plant is broken. Hence, it directly flows into the river." The green activist has also observed that at the Khemani Nullah area in Ulhasnagar, there are no proper facilities to divert the sewage flow towards the sump.

The complaint, a copy of which is in possession of mid-day, states, "As the sewage is manually pumped into the treatment plant, it's not a very reliable process. If it doesn't function properly during peak hours, then the sewage can overflow into the river. Further, more than a kilometer of the river is covered with water hyacinths, which clearly indicates that sewage from the upstream is also being released into the water."

The complaint also points out that massive constructions are happening on the flood plains of the river. It further states, "This is in complete contradiction of the stand taken by the state government in the High Court, wherein it had submitted that the flood plains are being protected. New constructions are on the rise on the river flood plains and we call upon you to address these issues on priority. We are sure that you are aware of the consequences of such acts. We expect proof of credible action taken on the points raised by us at the earliest, failing which we will move courts for justice and accountability".

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