Terming the incident of the sea throwing up tonnes of garbage along the Marine Drive, during a high tide as ‘serious’, the Bombay High Court, on July 30, 2018, asked the Maharashtra government and the city’s civic body for a solution to the problem. A division bench of justices AS Oka and Riyaz Chagla, was hearing a PIL filed by a city-based NGO, ‘Citizens Circle for Social Welfare and Education’, seeking direction to the authorities concerned, to frame guidelines on garbage and debris disposal and its discharge into the sea.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Shehzad Naqvi, pointed out to the court that earlier in July 2018, around 9,000 tonnes of debris and garbage was spewed by the Arabian Sea, along the Marine Drive promenade in south Mumbai, during a high tide. “This is a serious issue. What is the solution to this? There is so much garbage, debris and sewage discharged into the sea. The civic body will have to do something about this,” the court said.
The bench, after perusing a report submitted by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), in October 2017, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was discharging large quantities of untreated sewage into the sea. “As per the report, out of 2,671 million litres of sewage per day, 2,016 million litres is treated at eight sewage treatment plants by the BMC. The remaining 655 million litres of untreated sewage, is discharged directly into the sea at different locations,” justice Oka said.
“The recent incident at Marine Drive, has shown that the discharge of such a large quantities of untreated sewage in the sea is creating pollution,” he said. The court directed the BMC and a senior official of the state’s Environment Department, to file their affidavits on August 10, 2018, enlisting steps to deal with the issue.