Mumbai: BMC dumps hazardous waste in mangroves, creeks; NGO shares video with CM Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra environment minister

Dipti SinghUpdated: Thursday, June 03, 2021, 11:52 PM IST
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The non-governmental organisation Vanashakti has written to the Maharashtra CM and the environment minister and shared photographic and video evidence of BMC-owned vehicles and tankers disposing of hazardous waste and cement slurry in mangroves and creeks. The photos and videos submitted by NGO Vanashakti show two instances, one in Wadala and another in Bhandup, where BMC-owned tankers are seen discharging waste into creeks.

The NGO has alleged that the Mumbai civic body was openly dumping hazardous waste and cement slurry into the creeks, causing irreparable ecological and environmental damage, and has sought immediate action from the state government in the matter.

Stalin D, director, NGO Vanashakti said, “The incident at Bhandup was on May 20, 2021. The first time I saw it and caught them, I thought it was just a one-off thing, a stray incident. Later, however, I was shocked to find out, this was happening at different locations and on a large scale. Hence, I decided to file a written complaint.” The most recent incident was observed by Vanashakti at Wadala on June 2.

Stalin wrote to the regional officer of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and BMC officials from the solid waste management department and even followed up with them numerous times, but failed to receive any response. “I contacted the MPCB regional officer and BMC’s solid waste management department, with photos and videos of the incident. However, neither was any action nor a report of the incident submitted. Shockingly, I learnt that the tanker in the May 20 incident, meant to carry and transport sewage to the treatment plant was used to discharge cement slurry/ ready-mix slurry into the creek. Later, on June 2, in Wadala, I found a similar modus operandi,” Stalin told The Free Press Journal.

He added, “This is despite the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) orders against the BMC for disposal of waste into nullahs and creeks. What is worse is that the civic body continues to pollute the water bodies and mangroves with impunity.”

However, BMC officials denied the allegations. “We are yet to investigate the matter. If any of the contactors are found doing this, we will take action. BMC is not disposing of waste in creeks and water body. However, we are not aware of any contractors who are involved in this,” said a senior BMC official.

This is not the first time the BMC has been accused of disposing and discharging waste in the creeks and mangroves. In fact, in January 2012, the Bombay High Court (HC) had rapped the Mumbai civic body and ordered them to stop dumping solid waste in the Thane creek, adjoining Kopri. The order was given when the court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the NGO Vanashakti, challenging the conversion of land (which falls under CRZ-1) into an SEZ for a proposed I-T park.

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