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Weekly Interview: Alternative to water consolidation on water issue!

Sunil Godse,

Deputy Commissioner, Environment,

Mumbai Municipal Corporation

C40 has taken the initiative to prepare an environmental action plan. Under this, Mumbai Environmental Status Report will be released. From that one can understand the climatic condition of Mumbai. Important work will be done on Mumbai’s climate, pollution, green space etc. with the major participation of Mumbai Municipal Corporation. Emphasis will be laid on key components of the plan, projects related to water and air pollution issues as well as provision for green space expansion. Information about various projects is given.

* Why was it necessary to prepare an Environmental Action Plan for Mumbai?

The international organization ‘C40’ has taken the initiative for this. The organization is working with major cities around the world. Mumbai is a metropolis. Therefore, there is a need to bring pollution under control. Otherwise, much of South Mumbai could go under water in the next few years. That is why the Environment Action Plan is being prepared. The final draft is expected by December 2021. Earlier, the ‘Mumbai Environmental Status Report’ will be released. From that too, the atmospheric condition of Mumbai will be noticed.

* What are the main factors to be considered in the outline?

– Some seminars were organized from 2nd to 9th September. Discussions were held on ‘Sustainable Solid Waste Management’, ‘Air Quality’, ‘Urban Resilience and Water Resources Management’, ‘Urban Green Zone and Biodiversity’, etc. The suggestions made by the experts at this time will be taken into consideration while preparing the plan.

* How challenging would it be to implement the provisions in the plan in a densely populated city like Mumbai?

The challenge is certainly; But the citizens of Mumbai are smart. This will make it possible to implement environmental measures.

* While the Environment Action Plan is being prepared on one side, the sea is being filled for the coastal route on the other side. Stones are being laid on the squares. How can the environmental damage caused by this be compensated?

When citizens suffer due to traffic congestion, they blame the administration. The administration gets the blessings of the people when projects like Bandra-Worli sea bridge reduce travel time. Therefore, such projects are necessary for the convenience of the citizens.

* Don’t you think the coastal route will increase pollution by encouraging private transport?

As a solution to this, we are bringing more electric vehicles by 2025. The intention is to bring 1500 charging centers by 2022. Concessions will also be given for this. Encouragement is also being given to the citizens to make maximum use of the public transport system. Also metro projects are going to be operational soon. Therefore, private transport will remain under control.

* What efforts are being made to increase air quality?

A grant of Rs 330 crore has been received from the 15th Finance Commission for increasing urban green space; However, as the project is at a preliminary stage, it is not possible to go into details at this time.

* What will be the provision in the action plan regarding sewage disposal?

Work has been undertaken to upgrade the sewage treatment plants at Worli, Bandra, Versova, Malad, Bhandup, Ghatkopar and to set up new sewage treatment plants at Dharavi. Tenders have been received for all the projects except Malad. The total estimated cost of construction of these centers and operation and maintenance for the next 15 years is Rs. 20,000 crore. In all these projects, it is proposed to process the sewage at the second level as per the criteria of National Green Arbitration. It is proposed to treat 50 per cent of the water at the third level and use it for drinking, gardening, car washing, fire fighting etc. Sludge formed at the end of sewage treatment can be processed and used as fertilizer.

* What will be the nature of the drainage project to be set up at Manori?

Rainfall schedule has deteriorated over the last few years. Often the arrival of rain is delayed. Therefore, 10 to 15 percent water loss has to be done in April and May. As a solution to this, a drainage project will be set up on the land of ‘Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’ at Manori. It can be used for drinking water by desalinating seawater. Initially, the project will have a capacity of 200 million liters. Provision will be made to increase it to 400 million liters. A detailed project report will be ready by March 2022. Tenders will then be issued. The project is expected to be operational in the next two and a half years at an estimated cost of Rs 1,600 to 1,800 crore. The production cost of saline water produced from this project is expected to be 4 paise per liter. This water will be sold.

 

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