Mumbai: A Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Friday asked the Maharashtra government to place on record the sources from where waste is dumped into water bodies across the state. The bench has also asked the state to spell out how such dumping of waste could be prevented.
The bench was hearing a suo motu PIL it took up last month, on the basis of media reports that revealed that post-Cyclone Tauktae, the sea had spewed out all the trash that had been dumped in it.
On Friday, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted a five-page note stating that six of the total seven beaches in the city were being cleaned daily. The note also stated that there were ample signboards and enough awareness had been created, appealing to citizens to not throw their trash into the sea.
“All that is okay, Mr AG but we want to know from where all the trash goes into the beaches? What are the sources?” Justice Kulkarni said adding, “You (AG) need to apprise us of these details on the next date and also on how can we prevent this (dumping waste into the sea).”
The judge further said that there could be multiple sources from where waste was being dumped into the sea. “You take the example of the Mithi river.... Everything is being dumped into it... Thus, we need details,” Justice Kulkarni said, adding, “Because this has become a yearly issue now.”
The bench accordingly posted the matter for hearing till Monday.
Meanwhile, the state said in its note, “Mumbai has seven beaches, out of which six are cleaned daily manually as also by using appropriate machinery. Each of these six beaches are cleaned by using beach cleaning machines, depending upon their size.”
The state further said that the BMC had recently purchased such beach-cleaning machines, saying, “In order to prevent throwing of litter into sea, all these beaches have been provided with adequate number of litter bins, some of which are solar powered, on account of which they are illuminated even during night time, making it easy to locate them.
“Enough signboards are also put on these beaches, calling upon the general public to keep these beaches neat and clean,” the government has said.
Further, the state has accused the slum dwellers residing near the river, nullahs and creek for disposing large quantities of solid waste directly into the water bodies.
“Appropriate bylaws have been framed for preventing such pollution, which provide taking penal action in case of beaches thereof. Manual supervision is provided by the BMC in this regard, in various slums located along the side of such river, nalla, storm-water drains and creek,” the state said, adding, “During rainy season, on account of the overflow of water from the streets and other open areas into these rivers etc. the garbage lying on streets and other open areas also flows into sea.”
“Similarly, the dead loads from these rivers, drains etc. also flows into the sea. Thus, sharp increase is experienced in discharge of garbage into sea during the rainy seasons,” the note reads.