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To prevent garbage from floating into sea, BMC to deploy barges with trash brooms in nine rivers, nullahs

The barges will be put into use in nine rivers and nullahs for now, an official said, adding the initiative will be expanded to cover more water bodies in the future.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: June 15, 2021 12:37:31 am
Debris floating into the sea is a major menace for the city as not only does it lead to pollution, the sea regurgitating the trash on the beaches during monsoon poses another problem for the civic body.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will purchase nine barges equipped with trash brooms, which will be deployed in rivers and large nullahs across Mumbai, to prevent debris from floating into the sea.

The barges will be put into use in nine rivers and nullahs for now, an official said, adding the initiative will be expanded to cover more water bodies in the future.

Debris floating into the sea is a major menace for the city as not only does it lead to pollution, the sea regurgitating the trash on the beaches during monsoon poses another problem for the civic body.

A proposal for procuring the specialised barges will be tabled before the Standing Committee for final approval on Wednesday. The project, which includes supply, installation and maintenance of the system for three years, will cost the BMC Rs 48 crore. For the purpose, the BMC has finalised a contractor — Virgo Specialties Private Limited – which has a tie-up with a Denmark-based company for the supply of the barges.

The locations the BMC has identified for the purpose include Gazdar Bandh Nalla, Main Avenue Nalla, Mogra Nalla, Oshiwara river, Poisar river, Dahisar river, Vakola river, Mithi river (near Maharashtra Nature Park) and BKC bridge.

“This is the first time we are installing barges equipped with trash brooms in major nullahs and rivers. The project was planned about two years back but somehow, it did not take off. The idea is to prevent floating garbage from entering the sea. During monsoon and high tide, tonnes of garbage is thrown back by the sea on the beaches, and Marine Drive. Every year, we face a lot of problems due to this,” said a senior official from the Storm Water Drain department who is involved in the project.

Earlier, in 2018, a trash broom was installed at Irla Nullah in Andheri east.

In 2017, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked the civic body to take steps to stop pollution in the 17.8-km long Mithi river. In a more recent order, on October 14, 2020, the NGT asked the BMC to ensure all the floating materials were arrested before entering the sea.

Under the BMC project, the trash removed from the water bodies will be transported and dumped at designated sites. “If this goes well, we will install more such trash brooms on other major nullahs. In many cases, a nullah is (considered) cleaned as silt is removed but floating materials, mostly thrown by people living along the nullah, give out an impression of the nullah not being cleaned properly,” said another official from BMC.

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