AS YOU DUMP, so you shall reap -- that seems to be the message for Mumbaikars after high tides pulled tonnes of soggy garbage out of the Arabian sea onto their city's coast last week.
The government has grand plans for Mumbai’s seafront: a marina for yachts on the eastern seaboard, floating restaurants off the southern tip, watersports off Marine Drive and much more. But one look at the putrid waters and you’ll want nothing to do with any of this.
This weekend, the Arabian Sea sent its annual reminder of the state of affairs by dumping trash and sewage on Mumbai’s shores. The BMC collected nearly 2,15,000kg of garbage from the beaches of Mumbai on Sunday, with Marine Drive itself accounting for 9,000kg of those.
In the past week, the civic body has collected more than 200 metric tonnes of garbage that washed ashore along the Marine Drive, which, officials say, is a record amount when compared to the previous years.
Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner of A Ward, told newspaper Mirror, "The amount of garbage spewed by the sea is much more than the volume of the previous years. Last year, 15 workers were enough to clean and remove the garbage that littered the Marine Drive. This time, we had to press more 55 labourers in action. These workers are working continuously to clear the wastes that have been brought by the high tides.”
Despite multiple clean-up drives undertaken by concerned citizens, Mumbai's waste problem continues to afflict its beaches. It has been exacerbated by the flow of untreated sewage into the Arabian Sea. Dumping of plastic trash in the sea has become a killer for aquatic life and is also affecting the marine food chain.
No wonder then that a 2017 study by Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany found the sea off Mumbai to be the most polluted in the world.
Clean-ups alone won’t solve the problem, because the amount of garbage that Mumbai chucks every day is staggering. The city generates nearly 2,000 tonnes of garbage every day. Add to this, 2,100 million litres of sewage per day, which is released 3km into the sea, after basic treatment. No wonder then that a 2017 study by Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany found the sea off Mumbai to be the most polluted in the world (though other studies have placed the waters around China, Vietnam, Thailand as worse).
The Maharashtra government recently enforced a ban on the manufacturing, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic material -- such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates and thermocol items.
Witnessing the apathy of their beloved city, Twitterati expressed their anger on social media highlighting the fact that what you give is what you get.
A walk along Marine Drive in the monsoon once counted among the more beautiful experiences in Mumbai. No longer, for who would want the spray to stink of sewage and the waves to plant a blue plastic bag on their face.
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