Ramsar candidate flamingo sanctuary is highly polluted

BOD levels are very high at 78

Maha CM steps in as greens say Ramsar candidate Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary is highly polluted

MUMBAI:  Responding to complaints that the fish are dying in Ramsar Status candidate Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS), Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked the State Environment Department to probe and take action.

Green groups have earlier complained to the Government about drastic fall in the water quality as shown by a laboratory test and floating dead fish in the creek.

Thackeray has marked the mail to Principal Secretary Environment, Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar, NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar said. He expressed the hope that the government will take appropriate action to correct the situation as the water has to be uncontaminated since the State is gunning for international recognition, Ramsar Wetland status, NatConnect said.

Raising their concern on the occasion of the World Water Day on Tuesday, environmental groups have pointed out that the biological oxygen demand or BOD level in a sample tested by a reputed laboratory showed a reading of 78. This is considered to be very high as compared to revised acceptable norms of 30, said Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan.

BOD represents the quantity of oxygen required to break the organic matter in water. Higher the density of pollution; larger the quantity of Oxygen required.

Pawar, who hails from the fishing community, there are hardly any fish left in Bhandup-Kanjurmarg stretch as there is hardly any oxygen in the water. The water samples collected at Bhandup and Kanjurmarg sewer water treatment plant outlets are bad, he said.

NatConnect Foundation has called for a high-level scientific probe and immediate corrective measures to restore the quality of water in the creek. Kumar tweeted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray describing the situation as serious since the fishing community is being deprived of their source of income.

Both Pawar and Kumar also sent separate mails to the CM and the High Court appointed Wetland Committee

The Vashi-Thane stretch of the creek was a highly prosperous and fertile area for fishing. Now the situation is totally hopeless, Pawar said. Several villages such as Bhandup village, Nahur, Mulund, Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli, Kopri, Diva, Airoli and Vitava depend on fishing. 

The garbage dumps at Deonar, Bhandup and Kanjurmarg overflow into the creek and onto the mangroves, the CRZ1 status areas and the discharge of untreated urban as well as industrial waste water is also killing the creek and marine life, Pawar pointed out.

“We have been pointing this out to the authorities ever since 2008, yet there is no action,” he regretted. But now the situation is quite serious, he said.

Kumar called for surprise checks on the sewer treatment plants and inspection of the open drains that flow into the creek directly.