The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is hearing a petition regarding pollution of coastal wetlands, creeks and beaches in Mumbai due to improper waste management, filed by NGO Vanashakti and its director Stalin Dayanand.
“The local authorities are responsible for ensuring that the municipal waste is segregated and reaches the assigned place for composting or landfill. However, the waste is pushed down the creeks through the sewage lines. Due to this, areas with vegetation and mangroves are turning into dumps,” reads the petition.
After hearing the matter on Monday, the court sought a reply from the respondents – Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), Urban Development Department (UDD), Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Deputy Salt Commissioner, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Environment Board – within two weeks.
“While the beaches are being cleaned, mangroves are the worst hit as they cannot be cleaned. During high tide, all waste gets stuck in these areas. In one day we have removed half a tonne waste from just one area,” said Stalin.
According to the estimates by the NGO, there are around ten thousand tonnes of waste in the mangrove areas around Thane creek and the MMR region. “Unless the inflow is stopped, all the efforts taken to clean them will be wasted,” he added.
In his petition, he has suggested the MCGM to use nets at the end of the nullahs so that solid waste does not enter the creek. “The nets can then be cleaned and waste collected can be taken to waste management centres. All the nullahs today are concretised and this is a simple solution,” Stalin said.