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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Stop spraying chemicals in Powai lake to control water hyacinths: Environmentalists to BMC

The BMC has for long been trying to remove hyacinths from Powai lake.

Written by Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
September 14, 2021 12:58:04 am
A flock of birds fly over a crocodile basking in the afternoon sun at Powai Lake (PTI/File Photo)

Environmentalists in Mumbai have written to the BMC seeking that it should stop spraying chemicals in Powai lake to control water hyacinths, as these could be harmful to the crocodiles staying in it. As per rough estimates, there are nearly 40 crocodiles in the lake.

Environmentalist D Stalin of NGO Vanashakti said, “Instead of manual removal of the water hyacinths, a herbicide is sprayed on the vegetation. We strongly object to this since the chemicals used in herbicide like Glyphosate have serious toxicological side effects on the flora and fauna, especially in aquatic ecosystems.”

He added that spraying of chemical causes phosphorus levels to increase in the water body, leading to the proliferation of a certain algae that stresses the lake’s ecosystem. “This kind of dangerous chemical should never be used in a wildlife habitat of Schedule 1 protected species (Indian Marsh Crocodile) under the Wildlife Protection Act,” the letter written by environmentalists attached to the NGO stated.

BMC’s Deputy Commissioner (Special Engineering) Ajay Rathod said, “I am not aware of this issue. We are spraying herbicides in a pocket now on a trial basis.’’

Water hyacinth grows in water bodies that have a high presence of sewerage waste. The plant covers the surface area of the lake and makes it difficult for the sun’s rays to reach aquatic life, draining oxygen from the water bodies, resulting in deaths of fish and other aquatic life.

The BMC has for long been trying to remove hyacinths from Powai lake. Environmentalists have blamed the unregulated discharge of raw sewage into the lake for the proliferation of hyacinths.

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