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A virtual bed of garbage at Versova seashore

Wednesday, December 06, 2017
By Raju Vernekar

Notwithstanding the much publicised “clean beach drives” implemented by NGOs, involving Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other celebrities and the ‘Nirmal Sagar Tat Abhiyaan’ (NSTA) implemented by the state government, a major portion of the coast around Mumbai continues to be in an absolutely wretched condition with accumulation of tons of garbage on the coast.

Yesterday, the coastline around Versova at Andheri in North West Mumbai found to be littered with garbage gushing out of the sea. It included plastic bags, food wrappers, plastic fragments, cigarettes, glass fragments, bottle and container caps, cups (including polystyrene, foam cups), fabric pieces, plastic rope/ small net pieces, footwear, cardboard 2 and other items including metal, aluminium, disposed cigarette lighters, utensils, tin cans and jugs.

Local fisherfolks said that when on one hand, celebrities visit the nearby beach to clean it, and on the other, tons and tons of garbage gets accumulated practically every day in the backyard. Since all that they have to do is take out their boats parked on the coast for sailing, they do not bother about the garbage.

In fact, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) is in the process of implementing NSTA, a Rs 25 crore cleanliness Public-Private-Partnership programme, in association with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It includes to make available sports and recreational activities

The sustainable coastal protection and management investment program (SCPMIP), which aims at controlling erosion at vulnerable spots like beaches and seashores due to tidal waves and currents, is to be completed by December 2019. The MMB plans to develop ideas at each site including those for water sports, green energy and waste recycling. The MMB had also implemented a cleanliness campaign between September 17 (International Beach day) and October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti), this year.

The 12 sites selected by the MMB under the SCPMIP for feasibility studies include Marine Drive, Aksa and Juhu beaches and Mahim bay in Mumbai. Elsewhere in the state, MMB has adopted 76 beaches for cleanliness and beautification. The 720-km Maharashtra coastline has 78 beaches, which include: ten in Mumbai, six at Thane and Palghar, 15 at Raigad, 26 at Ratnagiri and 21 at Sindhudurg.

When pointed out about the heaps of garbage on the Versova coast, official MMB sources said that the board is involved in beautification of beaches and basically it is the responsibility of the BMC to clear the garbage whether it is on beach or the coast. In turn, sources in the BMC’s conservancy department said that the matter would be looked into.

In the meanwhile, sandy beaches at Juhu, Versova and Aksa (Malad) continue to be overloaded with garbage. The estimate of garbage is: Juhu : length-4 kms; 12,000 kg garbage at any given time, Versova, length : 2.5 km, 11,500 kg garbage and Aksa (Malad), length: 1.5 km, 10,300 kg garbage.
Other polluted rocky beaches are: Chimbai (Bandra), length: 500m, 30,000 kg garbage, Erangal (Malad): length: 1 km; 20,000kg garbage, Madh (Malad): length: 2 km; 10,200 kg garbage and Dadar/ Prabhadevi beach: length: 2.5 km; 7,500 kg garbage.

Relatively cleaner beaches are Girgaon Chowpatty (Charni Road), length: 1.2 km; 1,700 kg garbage, Gorai (Borivali): length: 2.2 km; 1,200 kg garbage and Uttan virgin beach (Mira Bhayandar), length: 800 m; 500 kg garbage.

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