The Mithi River is one of the most polluted rivers in India. It is considered to be one of the most important rivers in the city as it plays a significant role in the drainage system of Mumbai. However, the Mithi River faces a number of annual problems that have a severe impact on the environment and the health of people living in the surrounding areas.
The state government and the county’s richest municipal corporation, the BMC, have failed to come up with a solution to this problem. Recently, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, said that the government aims to make Mumbai pollution-free in the next 2-3 years. His statement was panned by opposition leaders, who called it a “laughable” statement.
Two of the biggest problems with the Mithi River are the floods that occur during the monsoon season. The second major issue that the river faces is pollution. Due to the industrialization of Mumbai and the lack of proper waste management systems, the river has become heavily polluted with untreated sewage, garbage, and toxic waste.
River pollution is affecting the city, and the lack of plantations and mangroves is also a reason for the bad environment. Many of the greeneries, especially mangroves, maintain water quality, clarity, and filter pollutants, which are beneficial for nature, and they protect us from natural disasters, but they are massively being cut down in the name of development projects, after which these rivers are either polluted by some chemicals or waste materials.
We spoke to some activists and experts to learn about the health hazards and the necessary steps to address these issues so that we could ensure that the river is preserved for future generations.
Environmental activist Girish Raut told Afternoon Voice, “The river is flowing from the industrial areas, where many harmful chemicals are contaminated and waste is thrown into the river; this was also the cause of the flood that took place in 2005.”
“Apart from the many mangroves that have been cut down to develop the city, the government does not realise the importance of them. People who are protesting against these projects are always considered fools, and none of the authorities are bothered to work on the river project. So how can it become pollutant-free?”, Raut further added.
When it comes to BMC officials, all promises made to make the city more environmentally friendly remain on paper. Some RTI activists have expressed their concerns about the river’s pollution and have been involved in discussions for many years.
“All these are empty promises being made by the government and authorities, but the cleaning of the rivers is only for the talks, and no one wants to work on it,” said RTI activist Gaurav Vora.
“Cleaning rivers should be a priority for the Maharashtra government as an environmental issue, because if we don’t treat nature as important, how will it treat us?” said Shailesh Gandhi, an RTI activist.