The Mumbai civic body told the Bombay High Court today that garbage and solid waste thrown into open storm water drains by people were causing pollution along the metropolitan city's coastline. In an affidavit filed before a division bench of justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said, "There are 107 storm water drain outfalls which drain into the Arabian sea directly. In suburbs and extended suburbs, open storm water drains are constructed on both sides of the road. The flow from such open drains are discharged into nullahs, creeks or the sea." "Garbage and solid waste is thrown by citizens into such drains. Also release of sullage (filth) into such drains is then discharged into the sea without any treatment," it said.
The BMC affidavit was filed in response to a public interest litigation by a city NGO seeking direction to authorities to frame guidelines on disposal of garbage and debris and their discharge into the Arabian Sea. The petition by 'Citizens Circle for Social Welfare and Education' relied on a recent incident when nine tonnes of debris and garbage were spewed by the sea along the Marine Drive promenade in south Mumbai during a high tide. The affidavit said the BMC was carrying out desilting of all rivers, nullahs and roadside drains in the metropolis so as to help minimize the impact of garbage and solid waste on pollution of water bodies and the coastline. Untreated sewage from slum pockets in the city is also released into the drains unauthorisedly, which is then discharged into the sea, it said. The division bench posted the PIL for further hearing on August 27, by when the state environment department would also have to file its affidavit on the issue.