To stop human involvement in cleaning sewage in manholes, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to buy 37 high-tech machines for the purpose.
According to the BMC, there are 3.5 lakh manholes across Mumbai. Although manual scavenging is banned, human involvement is required in some manholes that are inaccessible to machines. In this way, many conservancy workers have lost their lives after inhaling toxic gases.
“Humans enter only a few manholes to clear sewage. The BMC has started using machines for large scale cleaning. With the new machines, our target is to 100 per cent eliminate human intervention in cleaning sewer lines,” said a BMC official. Mumbai generates over 2,800 million litres of sewage every day.
While 24 machines will enable cleaning sewers in compact pipes or narrow lanes with a diameter of 300 mm, seven quick response machines for cleaning up quickly in case of urgent calls like a choke up, three 600 mm high capacity main sewer cleaning machines and three others for sludge and silt dewatering that will be used for cleaning septic tanks, will be purchased, officials said.
The BMC will spend more than Rs 160 crore to buy these machines.
This year, the civic body has made a budget estimate of Rs 275 crore on laying and widening of sewer lines. The BMC has also kept aside Rs 2,000 crore on upgradation of existing Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The BMC will need Rs 15,000 crore for reconstruction and upgradation of seven STPs, including Worli, Dharavi, Bandra, Ghatkopar, Bhandup, Versova and Malad. These STPs will have a capacity of treating 50 per cent sewage collected at tertiary level, which can later be reused for non-potable purposes.