The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has decided to launch an “all-out war” against the ubiquitous water hyacinth menace that keeps in its vicious grip on Pavana, Mula and Indrayani rivers. The depleting water levels in these rivers has come in handy for the PCMC undertake its “remove hyacinth plan” with renewed vigour.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Dilip Gawde told Newsline on Wednesday that he has issued directives to all the divisional chiefs to tackle the hyacinth menace on war-footing.
“I have inspected a few sites where the hyacinth menace prevails throughout the year. Hyacinth does not grow where the water is clean and flowing. For instance, ahead of Ravet weir, the water is clean and there is no presence of hyacinth. However, it grows where there is stagnant water and filth,” Gawde said adding that it grows at least a couple feet deep every day.
Gawde further said that as water levels in the rivers are low now, hyacinth menace has also thinned. “It is a good time for us to launch an all-out war against hyacinth. Therefore, I have directed all our divisional heads to get on with the job of removing the hyacinth,” he said.
However, environmentalists say hyacinth menace will not disappear, once and for all, unless and until the PCMC stops discharging sewage water into the river. “Hyacinth feeds on sewage water. The more you discharge sewage into the river, the more rapidly hyacinth grows,” said Vikas Patil, who heads the Environment Conservation Association.
Patil said the PCMC administration does not speak the truth about discharge of treated water into the river. “PCMC claims that it discharges 80 per cent of the clean water after treating the effluent at its sewage treatment plants. However, the fact is PCMC discharges only 10 per cent of clean water while 80 per cent of its water is dirty,” alleged Patil.
Environmentalists also claim that the hyacinth menace also has an adverse effect on the fishes in the rivers. “Since hyacinth grows rapidly in sewage water, it clearly shows that there is rivers do not have clean water. If there is no clean water, how will the fish survive? Hyacinth growth is so high that it restricts the movement of the fish which results in their death in most cases,” Patil said.
Not only this, mosquito menace has also grown in the town. “Not only citizens living along the rivers complain of mosquito menace, but also those living in other parts of the town are suffering. But the PCMC action so far has been only half-hearted, Patil said.
River Pavana flows for at least 12-km within PCMC limits; river Mula flows along the southern boundary of PCMC for at least nine km while river Indrayani flows for 14 km along the northern boundary of the PCMC.
Welcoming the PCMC initiative, Raju Savale, vice-president of environment cell, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, said, “Hyacinth generally starts growing rapidly from October to December. It is good that PCMC has decided to start hyacinth removal on war footing.”
The civic administration needed to take drastic action so that the hyacinth menace does not recur,” he said, adding that water hyacinth has made life miserable for residents in Sangvi, Dapodi and nearby areas as they have spawned severe mosquito menace.