While there has been a significant increase in air and noise pollution levels in the city and suburbs,the quality of water appears to have improved over the past two years,if the civic administrations claims are to be believed.
The BMC annual Environment Status Report shows that while last year,on an average,24.64 per cent of water samples were unfit for consumption,this year the number has dipped to 16.37 per cent.
The percentage of contaminated water samples for 2006-07,2007-08 and 2008-09 is 9.05 per cent,12.47 per cent and 13.80 per cent respectively. The highest percentage of contaminated water samples was found in areas of South Mumbai in Marine Lines and in thedensely populated areas of Kalbadevi (25 per cent), Goregaon (26 per cent), Byculla and Kurla ( 21 per cent) and Parel and Lalbaug (19.68 per cent). The lowest contamination levels,10.44 per cent,are from Matunga area.
Contamination includes presence of e-coli and other bacteriological content. Many households have complained of foul smelling and muddy water.
The improvement in the water quality is being attributed to the replacement of old pipelines which were causing contamination, according to Ramesh Bamble,chief engineer of the Hydraulic Engineering Department. The main cause of contamination in water supply is through service connections,mixing of sewerage and drainage system with water supply systems,unclean suction and overhead tanks and deteriorating internal lining of water mains and seepage of surface water to mains through lead joints.
Illegal connections by slumdwellers,tampered water supply mains and faulty fittings are among other reasons for water contamination,said officials.
Of the 4,000-km of old pipelines that the civic body had identified for replacement or repair in 2006,about 506.91 km have been replaced so far and about 331.3 km repaired.
While the drinking water quality has improved this year,the water quality at citys beaches and other coastal areas is far beyond the permissible standards for harbour waters recommended by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). These beaches include Juhu beach,Versova beach,Girgaum Chowpatty, Worli seaface and other coastal areas including Gateway of India,Nariman Point,Malabar Hill,Haji Ali,Worli seaface and Shivaji Park.