Mumbai: An industrial effluent pipeline breach threatens to pollute the flamingo sanctuary and the Thane Creek. The MIDC’s industrial discharge pipeline has broken loose from the concrete foundation and this has led to a major environmental crisis brewing in the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary. The site, accessible by waterway, is located just before the Vashi bridge turns towards Thane and can also be accessed from the Vashi bridge jetty.
The 15km-long MIDC industrial pipeline, running along the Thane creek bed, was extensively damaged after breaking loose from the concrete foundation that kept it bonded to the creek bed. The dislodged 14-inch diameter pipeline is now floating on the surface of the water. “Industrial effluent is leaking right into the creek. The effluents get carried into the sanctuary by the tide and deposited on the mudflats used by the migratory flamingos,” claimed NGO Vanashakti director and activist D Stalin.
According to the local Koli fishermen, the exposed pipeline is also a serious navigation threat and the state forest department does not have the technical and engineering expertise to fix the loose pipelines. “The MIDC, with the help of the Maharashtra Maritime Board, needs to act immediately in coordination with the pollution control board to resolve this crisis on a war footing before the onset of monsoon next month. The food chain is getting poisoned with the discharge of pollutants in the creek,” said Vishal Tandel, visibly angered by the lethargy of the officials in getting the leak plugged.
Senior MIDC officials refused to go on record but admitted that it would take time for the damaged pipeline to be repaired and nothing could be done to stop the discharge of industrial effluent until the MPCB and the forest department undertook a survey of the damaged pipeline.
Local residents and activists have demanded the intervention of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, the MIDC and the state forest department to extend the discharge point beyond Vashi bridge into the bay. “The discharge of industrial effluent inside wildlife areas is prohibited but the MIDC has repeatedly ignored the threat to marine life. It is supposed to discharge polluting industrial effluents into the deep sea,” Stalin maintained.