Receiving criticism from all corners after the first monsoon rainfall left the city submerged, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to take strict action against those who dump garbage in drains and nullahs across the city. Emphasis will also be laid on public awareness, officials said.
The decision to penalise is a bid to ensure public places and stormwater drains don’t get clogged in monsoons and lead to waterlogging. The civic body has proposed the use of CCTV cameras and the effective imposition of fines to resolve the problem of clogged nullahs and drains.
Mumbai has a 689 km network of nullahs, out of which 26km is cleaned by Bobcat machines (equipment used to pick up and clear silt and debris from drains). Another 421 km network of small drains is cleaned with available machines and appointed contractors. However, every year, the civic body complains that plastic, thermocol, rubber goods, footwear, other unused items, like broken furniture, are dumped in nullahs, which clogs the outlet of the nullah and prevents water from discharging into the sea.
“It is found every year that plastic and garbage block the roadside drains in a large way. In addition to this, floating materials like plastic bottles, carry bags and thermocol clog the outlets of pumping stations, which affects their functioning. Even this year, we managed to ensure water receded in many areas. However, in some areas like Hindmata, Gandhi Market, Dadar T T, which are flood-prone spots, it took time for the water to recede due to clogged drains. We are taking various measures to address these issues. One would be to cover up major nullahs and restrict people from throwing plastic, thermocol, pillows and clothes, amongst others, which block the water in the drains,” said a senior BMC official.
He added, "We had conducted multiple campaigns and awareness programmes in the past for people living along nullahs and rivers to stop the dumping trash in the water. However, there are a few miscreants who will never change and so we have taken this step,”
"As per the municipal bye-laws, Rs. 200 will be levied more effectively. At the same time, the administration is also considering taking punitive action against those who dump garbage through regular CCTV surveillance," said P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner (projects)
The civic body had started levying fines on people throwing garbage in nullahs in a campaign initiated by former BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi. However, the exercise was discontinued after a few months.