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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Real estate Rs 75000 a sq foot worlds priciest garbage dump

Real estate Rs 75,000 a sq foot = world’s priciest garbage dump

Updated on: 27 February,2024 07:16 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hemal Ashar |

City’s swish Malabar Hill area has a rubbish problem; debris, old furniture sails into the building

Real estate Rs 75,000 a sq foot = world’s priciest garbage dump

Garbage at Malabar Apartments, Malabar Hill. Pics/Atul Kamble

Key Highlights

  1. The SoBo area has real estate pegged at approximately Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000 a square foot
  2. This building has seven floors with 18 flats on each floor
  3. There are garbage cans in the space and the building’s rubbish is collected

Money, money, money may be funny in a rich man’s world, yet, not many are laughing at The Malabar Apartments Co-Operative Housing Society Limited, on Malabar Hill.

The SoBo area has real estate pegged at approximately Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000 a square foot, which makes a huge garbage dump behind the Malabar Apartments within its vicinity, one of the most expensive rubbish dumps in the world.

Site fright

This building has seven floors with 18 flats on each floor, housing  a total of 126 flats, with a garbage disposal area earmarked for the building’s collective trash. There are garbage cans in the space and the building’s rubbish is collected and put into those cans, like in most residential societies.

Malabar Apartments has seven floors and 18 flats on each floorMalabar Apartments has seven floors and 18 flats on each floor

The Malabar Apartments though, has a different, unique, and exasperating problem. It is located below a huge sprawl of hutments which has grown massively through the years. The Simla Nagar zopadpatti is perched just above this open space and, garbage from the Simla Nagar hutments, above this compound, is sailing down to the Malabar Apartments open area. This is thrown by the Simla Nagar slum dwellers above and comes flying landing on the building premises.

The result is a fright of a site and shocking for a building in Mumbai’s priciest pockets. When this reporter visited the spot, garbage was strewn all around the designated trash cans and more was being thrown from above.

Watch out

As this reporter and photographer stood at the site, garbage by the hutment dwellers flew down like projectiles, and one had to keep a wary eye in case it fell on heads. The security repeatedly cited caution.

Residents said, "bottles sometimes wrapped in plastic bags, furniture, building material debris and everything possible lands here. Sometimes the hutment dwellers do aim for garbage cans but frequently miss them. The entire ground is littered.” We saw three cars parked to one side of the site, with the residents stating that, “car windshields have cracked at times. Owners have to negotiate the mess to get into their cars, keeping a wary eye to avoid getting hit or splattered by something foul.”

The residents stated that 10 years ago, “We even had a funnel (a chute) that was installed from above so that hutment dwellers could put their garbage and it emptied into garbage cans straight below. That (funnel) was choked as hutment dwellers were pushing broken furniture through it. A sofa was pushed down the chute, to deposit as garbage! The chute was blocked and then broke in some places. Eventually, the chute was removed.”

Then, a boundary wall was made along the hutments, to stop garbage from being thrown over, but this too in vain as garbage is still tossed over the wall. A resident pointed to small structures that have come up along the boundary wall too. A resident said, “There is wastewater too, from pipes there emptying into the Malabar Apartments compound.” A stench emanated from the site and the ground was slick with the water. Since there was moss around, one could slip and fall as some residents claim had happened.

Health hazard

When we were at the spot, a rat or two was spotted scurrying around the ground. Security personnel stated, “We have to do rat treatment very often” and mosquitoes buzzed. The entire space is a health hazard.

A resident pointed out, “Our staff has to access this spot for throwing our garbage in the bins. They then walk through the building in the same footwear, that has trampled through waste water. Imagine the many monsoons here, it is a nightmare. At a time of deep cleaning of the city, this rubbish bin continues to overflow. We have written so many letters to authorities and there have been efforts by the BMC to clean up, yet it does not solve the problem. We need a permanent solution. This has persisted because it is not immediately visible to passersby, it is out of sight as it is tucked away behind the building.”

It is conveniently “invisible” stated irate locals who raged that if this had happened within immediate eye view in the front of the building, “it would never have been allowed to continue.”

End this

Some correspondence dates back to 2012-2013 about the installation of the chute, and dismantling of the chute thereafter, pointing to the longstanding problem.
There is a letter addressed to the municipal authorities in 2013, with a sketch of the proposed chute. Then, letters in March 2020 cite numerous previous correspondence and excerpts from the communication state: ‘We would once again like to draw your attention to the dangerous and unhygienic conditions created by nonstop dumping of garbage from Simla Nagar zopadpatti residents.’ It said a regular clean-up by bringing in dumper trucks and a JCB is needed.

As recently as February 9, a resident showed pictures of the overflowing garbage and tweeted: ‘Deep cleaning. What does that even mean? @mybmc plans to launch this on Saturday. See these pix. An unattended garbage dump near Simla Nagar, Malabar Hill. Despite appeals from residents no sign of any cleaning leave alone ‘deep’.

The BMC did attend to the tweet complaint a few days later and did say to this reporter that the complaint was being attended to. Vehicles, men, and machines, were sent to clean up, and they did, but residents say these are “stop-gap measures” as the garbage game restarts after trucks clear out the accumulated rubbish.

“In Juhu, work is in progress at 54 construction sites. Of these, work is being finished at 20. The remaining 34 sites are under MHADA and IR/ show-cause notices have been issued by this office regarding non-compliance with air pollution guidelines by developers. However, Juhu and Vile Parle West’s AQI has been under control (below 100) for a week,” said Dr Prithviraj Chauhan, assistant commissioner, K West ward.

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