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Faecal coliform count along city coastline 9-16 times higher than safety limit: MPCB

A civic official said discharge of untreated domestic sewage into the sea was one of the main reasons behind high FC count — measured as colonies of coliform per 100 ml of water.

A civic official said discharge of untreated domestic sewage into the sea was one of the main reasons behind high FC count — measured as colonies of coliform per 100 ml of water.

Seawater along Mumbai’s coastline has high counts of faecal coliform (FC) content — in other words, human and animal excreta — a new report has said, confirming a well-known and much-reiterated fact.

The ‘Water quality status of Maharashtra 2019-20’, published by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) last month, also shows that the count of faecal coliform in 10 water monitoring stations is in the range of nine to 16 times higher than the safety limit.

A civic official said discharge of untreated domestic sewage into the sea was one of the main reasons behind high FC count — measured as colonies of coliform per 100 ml of water.

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In seawater at Malabar Hill, Juhu, Nariman Point, Worli Seaface and Haji Ali, the count was as high as 1,600/100ml against safe standards of 100/100ml. While at the remaining five stations, the count was above 900. Mumbai generates over 2,190 million litres of sewage water daily, of which 1,285 million litres is treated.

All seven sewage treatment plants, however, perform only primary treatment before discharging it into the sea.

Many parts of the city do not have sewerage networks, so they directly discharge raw sewage in water bodies, like Mithi river. The MPCB measures pollution levels using the water quality index (WQI) — a single grade on overall water quality.

A total of 43 parameters are considered to calculate WQI, of which pH level, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and faecal coliform are four core parameters.

Overall WQI of seawater at Mumbai beaches and sea face, which are tourist hotspots, are in the range “medium to good” (WQI between 50 to 63). Versova, Juhu, Nariman

Point, Gateway of India, Malabar Hill, Girgaum Chowpatty, Haji Ali, Shivaji Park Dadar and Worli Sea Face, Mahim Creek recorded levels ranging from

53 and 55 (yellow category or non-polluted) in the year 2019-20.

From 2007-08, the water quality improved at Nariman Point, Juhu, Shivaji Park Dadar and Malabar Hill.

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