Dealing with incessant rains during monsoons is nothing new for Mumbaikars. Sadly, flooding has become a problem almost synonym to the maximum city. However, this year people in the city have to deal with the added issue of at least 2,15,000 kgs of garbage being spewed onto the streets during high tide. By Bayar Jain
A visit to Mumbai is incomplete without a stopover at the iconic Marine Drive, 3.6-kilometre boulevard along the Arabian sea in south Mumbai. Whether it’s locals or tourists visiting the city, everyone loves taking a casual stroll along the periphery of the waters or sitting by the seaside, especially during light rains. This year, though, that is no longer the case.
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During the rains this year, truckloads of garbage has washed out onto the city. According to Mumbai’s civic body workers, close to two lakhs kgs of garbage has engulfed the city, out of which 9,000 tons is on Marine drive alone! The beaches of the city seem to be doused in more litter than sand, and streets have turned into garbage wastelands. Coupled with rains, a foul and rotting smell makes the situation worse than it already is.
To clean the mess, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has already deployed 55 labourers, two large compactors, three dumpers, three mini compactors, and one JCB. According to some reports, the BMC has already cleared 25,000 kgs (and counting) of garbage from Marine Drive. Apart from this, close to 5,000 kgs has been cleared from Girgaum Chowpatty, 50,000 kgs from Dadar and Mahim Chowpatty, 1,10,000 kgs from Versova and Juhu beach, and 8,000 kgs from Gorai beach. According to civic officials, large quantities of thermocol, plastic bags, bottles, and tetra packs make up for most of the garbage collected. The worst part? They say this is an annual affair.
Sea pollution is not restricted to Mumbai alone though. The Indus and Ganga rivers in Northern India are believed to carry the second and sixth highest amounts of plastic to the ocean. Internationally, in 2018, a long stretch of area in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, grappled with a similar issue. Known as the Great Pacific Garbage, it includes almost 88,000 tons of waste – roughly equating to the weight of 500 jumbo jets.
The fact that waste accumulation is becoming a common sight is enough reason to worry. Not only does it serve as a warning sign for us, it also highlights the extent to which we’re harming our marine life. It’s bad enough that water clogging in the city is an annual occurrence. Choking on garbage every year need not be added to the list.