Tuesday, May 15, 2007

River Pollution - Reader Writes...


This is an aerial view of Sangam Bridge where Mula & Mutha meet in Pune. The polluted waters of Mutha, which flows through Pune mix with relatively cleaner Mula. The polluted dirty waters are clearly seen here. The photo corroborates the point made by our reader below. This is true about all our rivers and waterbodies - may it be Mula-Mutha or Mithi or Rankala or Godawari.
The Question is when did we turned so callous about our own resources?
- Sakaal Blog


Rivers were carved out by nature to carry the water from their catchment areas to the seas.Their cross-sections are adequate to carry all the flood water in the monsoons & they will overflow their banks rarely,when there is extra-ordinary amount of rain in a short span!However,when the township municipal bodies start interfering with them like constructing roads in their beds,overlook unauthorised dumping/reclamation on their beds & banks,dumping of garbage or rubble on their banks on beds,the cross sectional areas keep reducing & cannot carry earlier quantum of water.
This is when they spill over the banks,enter all houses in low lying areas & cause havoc including loss of lives & property etc in the monsoons.This has to stop though enough harm has been done in most rivers including the Mutha,Mitha,Indrayani etc.But this only the govt or municipal bodies have to control.
I have participated in Mutha river cleaning campaign on behalf of IMF earlier with co-operation of PMC health dept.It was a very limited success as effluents continued to flow in or be thrown in.Normally,rivers with a perennial ebb current get cleaned by the current itself,which carries away the floatsam,but in Mutha,this happens only on few days in monsoon,when the sluice gates of dams are opened!Rest of the year,it degenerates into a nullah for dumping of garbage.
In USA & Europe,there are severe penalties including prison terms for polluters,besides the fact that the people are too caring & proud to spoil "their" environment!The US Coast Guard keeps strict vigil not just on the coastline,but also in ports & rivers.Rivers in developed countries around the world are kept absolutely clean,their banks built with proper sloping walls,dykes & protective railings etc & are a pleasure to watch unlike our filthy,effluent choked & mostly dried up & mostly illused rivers.Mutha is no exception!
The PMC is lenient with defaulters, who don't care & continue to pollute.All rivers in India are badly polluted & occasional campaigns to clean them are of limited value!

--Capt.Subhash Bhate(Retd.)

17 comments:

Suresh3211 said...

Capt. Subhash....You are absolutely right ...The red industrial structure on right hand side is constructed by me...There is so much of filthy smell in hot season...

captsubh said...

सर्वप्रथम श्री.सु्रेश यांना धन्यवाद!

नद्यांतले अतिक्रमण यावरचे मत!
जगभर मानवजातीच्या वस्त्या नदीकिना-यांवरच झाल्या कारण रोजच्या दिनचर्येला,शेतीला पाण्याची सतत गरज असते.जशी शहरांतील लोकसंख्या बेसुमार वाढत गेली,तशी जागा कमी पडत गेली,तसेच माणसाच्या मनातली हावपण वाढत गेली.पण शहरांचा विस्तार इतरत्र करून नदी किनारे सुरक्षीत ठेवण्याऐवजी नद्यांच्या काठांवर व पात्रात अतिक्रमणे वाढतच चालली आहेत.
अगदी नजिकच्या काळातली उदाहरणे म्हणजे १) मुंबईजवळची "मिठी" नदी २) कार्ल्याजवळची "इन्द्रायणी" नदी व ३) पुण्यातली "मुठा" नदी.
या तिन्ही नद्यांत व इतर नद्यांतपण या ना त्या कारणाने निरनिराळ्या प्रकारची बेसुमार अतिक्रमणे चालली आहेत.
जेथे बारीक वाळू मुबलक व सहजरीत्या मिळते तेथे तिचापण प्रमाणाबाहेर उपसा चालू आहे.ती अयोग्य ठिकाणी काढून नद्यांवर होणा-या दुष्परिणामांची पण सरकारला काळजी नाही!वाळूचे लिलाव करून व्यापा-यांना व सरकारला किती उत्पन्न झाले हे अतीमहत्वाचे!
याला जबाबदार राजकीय पुढारी आहेतच,शिवाय एका बाजूस महानगरपालिकांचे अधिकारी वा जिल्हाधिकारी,तहसिलदार,तलाठी व दुस-या बाजुस बिल्डरची लौबी आहे.नुकतेच इन्द्रायणी नदीत ३०००० ट्रक राडारोडा टाकून पात्रांत कमालीचे अतिक्रमण करून पात्र अतिशय अरूंद झाले आहे अशी बातमी सकाळमध्ये प्रसिद्ध झाली होती.पुण्यांतपण काही बिल्डरनी कित्येक ट्रक राडारोडा नदीच्या पात्रात टाकणे चालूच आहे.येवढे सर्व संबंधितांना माहिती असूनहि याचे उत्तरदायित्व कोणावरहि नाही तसेच त्याबद्दल कठोर शिक्षेची गरज असूनहि याबद्दल विचारसुद्धा नाही.तात्पुरते काम थांबवायचे व जनता विसरली असेल अशी खात्री झाल्यावर नदीवरच्या लाभदायक महागड्या घरांची बांधणी हळूच पूर्ण करायची!
Construction is much more difficult than destruction याप्रमाणे ३०००० ट्रक राडारोडा टाकणे त्यामानाने सोपे पण तो नदीपात्रातून उचलणे अतिकठीण व महागाईचे!
होणार का आपल्या पवित्र इन्द्रायणीचे पात्र कधी पूर्ववत?मग बिचा-या बिल्डरांचे व आधीच पैसे उकळून बसलेल्या व्यक्तींचे किती नुकसान होणार?यातून मार्ग काढण्याची व प्रकरणाचा समेट करण्याची शक्कल पुढारीच काढणार व तीसुद्धा टेबलाखालून भरपूर चिरीमिरी घेउन!पण विकासाचा प्रकल्प झालाच पाहिजे!
फ़ारतर वाईटांत वाईट म्हणजे नदी प्रवाह बदलेल,जवळचा टापू व कदाचित त्यातील घरे,माणसे व पिके बुडतील/मरतील,पण काही वर्षांत नदी नवीन पात्र खोदेलच तर काळजी करण्याचे कारण नाही!
"Prevention is better than cure" या म्हणीवर विश्वास नाही म्हणून जखमा होउ द्यायच्या व मग मलमपट्टी करायची हे आपल्याइथले धोरणच आहे.म्हणुनच आजच्या 'सकाळ'च्या बातमीत पूरस्थिती निर्माण झाल्यास संबंधी विविध विभागांचा कृती आराखडा तयार आहे अशी माहिती देण्यात आली आहे.निरनिराळ्या व्यक्तींच्या व संस्थांच्या लाभांसाठी नद्यांची cross-sectional area खूप कमी करून पूराचे बेसुमार पाणी किना-यांवर पसरून खूप हानी झाल्यावर खोटे अश्रू ढाळून "आलिया भोगाशी असावे सादर" म्हणत करदात्यांचे पैसे वाया जाउ द्यायचे व पावसाळा संपल्यावर परिस्थिती "जैसे थे" म्हणत पुढच्या ७-८ महिन्यांकरता निश्वास सोडायचा हे आपल्या राज्यकर्त्यांचे व अधिका-यांचे धोरणच आहे.यांत अमाप माया जमवितात सत्तेचे दलाल!आताच्या माहितीच्या जगात आम जनतेचे बारकाईने लक्ष आहे हे लक्षात घेवून पुढा-यानी व संबंधित अधिका-यांनी निस्वार्थीपणे थोडा देशाचा व स्वतःचा स्वाभिमान बाळगला तरच नद्यांचे ख-या अर्थाने रक्षण केले जाईल!नुसती घोषणाबाजी आता कालबाह्य झाली आहे!पुण्यात प्रामाणिक व दर्जेदार बिल्डरांची कमी नाही तर त्यांना संधी द्यावी व नद्या वाचवाव्यात असे जनतेला मनापासून वाटते!
सुभाष भाटे

Anonymous said...

River and ocean care is a very important issue and often gets relegated, behind what are arguably more pressing ones in the media. Therefore, it was great to read this post by Capt. Subhash Bhate.

Rivers are often viewed as nature's drains and abused as such. Several lawsuits in the US have helped keep the industry in check. Unfortunately, the legal system in India is not an approachable option and most of us do not find the trouble worth it. And finally, abuse on an individual level cannot be kept in check. Better education and government recognition of these issues may help this aspect. Costa Rica for example has environmental guarantees in its constitution.

The threats to the environment can only get more severe. It is only a matter of time before things get so bad that we are forced to take action or perish. My only hope is that we don't wait that long...

Thanks once again for this wonderful article.

Rohan said...

excellent article and very true. It is sad to see the misuse and the filth that makes up the rivers. People infact even comment about the Mula river being a huge rubbish heap.
I wish there was some way of being able to clean up the river in order to allow the river waters released by the Khadakwasla lake to flow smoothly without overflowing and inundating the surrounding areas.
Great article.

माधव बामणे said...

ही सगळी पैशाची हाव. थोडा पैसा टाकला की, वाटेल ते पदरात पाडून घेता येते. शहरातले नाले भरा, इमारती बांधा थोडे पैसे टाका बांधकाम नियमित करुन घ्या व बक्कळ कमवा. लोकप्रतिनिधी सर्वात आघाडीवर. पिंपरी चिंचवड नवनगरात अनिधिकृत बांधकाम केले. शासनाने पाडून टाकण्याकरता नोटीस काढली. नगरसेवक पुढे सरसावले. दंड करा व नियमित करा म्हणून शासनाच्या कार्यालयावर मोर्चा घेऊन गेले.

हे सगळे थांबवावयाचे असेल तर असे मोर्चे काढणाराना तुरुंगात टाका. बांधकामे तोडा व सर्व खर्च वसूल करा. एखाद्या दुस़-या ठिकाणी जरी झाले तर पुन्हा कोणी नदी-नाल्यांच्या वाटेस जाणार नाही.

captsubh said...

Shri.Madhavrao's very true & apt comments reminded me that it is not just rivers,which are being encroached upon/reclaimed or used as dumping grounds or polluted,same is happening to nullahs and lakes etc.In last 2 years,we have heard of the miseries/woes of Pune citizens,who had to cross waterlogged streets/roads & whose societies well away from the river remained flooded just because some uncaring & selfish builders had reclaimed or built walls across small nullahs or odhas & blocked the natural drainage!
महानगरपालिका इमारती पुर्ण झाल्यावर किंवा आधीच inspection न करताच [काही मोबदला टेबलाखालून घेवून] भोगवटा पत्रे बिल्डरना बहाल करते.त्यामुळे निर्ढावलेले बिल्डर फ़क्त त्यांच्या फ़ायद्याकरता इमारतींच्या आसपास नाल्यांत वाटेल ते फ़रक करतात,भर घालतात,भिंती बांधतात व हे पावसाळा आल्यावर इतरत्र पाणी साचून हाहाकार झाल्यावर समजते लोकांना व पालिकेला!मग तात्पुरती मलमपट्टी जनतेच्या पैशाने सुरू!कोथरुडला मागच्या वर्षात या कारणाने लोकांना प्रचंड त्रास झाला होता!घोडा मैदान जवळच आहे!
सुभाष भाटे

Abhi said...

I don't know who posted that picture of Sangam bridge. I think thats from maps.google. The difference in color of water in two rivers is because of shadow.
This Aerial imagery does not depict any pollution rather incompetent resolution to reveal any trace of pollution.
If you look at this (same view at different scale) you will notice the shadow in the middle of the image.
In no way I am supporting the pollution but please don't claim any false evidence with the help of advanced technology which is hard to understand for common people.
My sincere apologies.

Abhi said...

Have a look at this picture (bottom of the comment) from maps.google which clearly gives the idea about the trace of treated water from Wakdewadi Waste Water Treatment Plant.
The picture may not be always same and depends on the charac. of pollutant and water body.

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=k&om=1&ll=18.537127,73.85403&spn=0.002126,0.005407&z=18

captsubh said...

shri.Abhi,
Thank you for yr comments.I appreciate yr keen & correct observation as well as furnishing a link to a downloaded google map showing discharge from Wakdewadi treatment plant.
The eye catching map shown in the post by Sakal was of a very limited area & was more to make the point about the ongoing pollution by the floatsam as well as siltation by the detritus, which is continuously settling down on the river beds.I actually wished to highlight not just pollution,but encroachments,unauthorised constructions,dumping of not just garbage & effluents,but also rubble,which is still continuing as pointed out in the photo published in sakal Today dated 18/5.
The story is more or less similar in many of our rivers/waterbodies.The earlier our PMC realizes the gravity of the situation & takes concrete cognitive action,it will save us!
I served on the 126 mile long Hugli River in Kolkata for 21 yrs for hydrography,dredging & pilotage & speak with conviction & concern for the betterment of Pune city's lifeline rivers!
Capt.Subhash Bhate(Retd)

Abhi said...

You are right in every point sir.
I don't have access to the print media for my own reasons and hence cant say about what was printed.
If you want to address the point of pollution and encroachments they can be easily highlighted using Aerial Imagery.
E.G. One can compare the visuals of Water in Khadakvasla dam and Sangam bridge.This will give idea about how the urban catchment is contributing to the siltation and other pollutants.Secondly Municipal boundaries can be mashed up with the Google maps and encroachment can be identified. One can also compare the imagery of two different time scale like 2000 and 07.
I have lived in Pune for a year (not enough) and from my view the flooding is not due to the narrowing of the channel but due to the increase in impervious areas. These areas increases the runoff and shortens the time to peak runoff.
This does not mean encroachments should be allowed. But our priority to avoid flood should be to minimize the runoff at source by adopting appropriate strategies.

Abhi.

captsubh said...

Abhi,
I am impressed with your knowledge of remote sensing including suggestion to compare imagery of 2000 & 2007 to deduce data,but such data including even model prototype studies have limitations & can still differ significantly from the actual ground(or river bed)realities.
The wrongs taking place do not escape attention of common man,but the powers that be including municipal bodies,even when knowing such things in detail,remain mum & if pointed out,feign ignorance.If they were alive to the situation,the present almost beyond redemption scenario about pollution,encroachments,reclamations or excavation in wrong sites would never have taken place nor some of the odhas & nullahs been filled up/blocked.
You mention peak runoff & impervious areas,but neither the town planners nor the builders bother about [in their eyes]such mundane matters unless a crisis develops in monsoons,when only temporary eyewash steps are taken to alleviate the flooding!
Few citizens are recalling last monsoonwhen many societies were inundated & dreading what this year's monsoons have in store!

Anonymous said...

Anil

On the 10 th Day of my dad I had been to Sangam Ghat. After the Pooja the Pandit asked me take a tour of river and flow your father's pooja materials into river. I caught a boatman to drive me in the middle of the flow, and believe me the entire water around me was nalla water, while doing so I was very emotional and when I found myself in between the huge gutter, it gave me again emotional blunder, that I am dispatching my beloved fathers memory in a gutter. The Pandit was shouting from bank asking me to take water into my palm and release it thrice and afterwards put it on my forehead and sprinkle around my body. However in the middle of the river it was litterally drainage water and I just could not control myself but broke again that I am not able to do this in a beautiful way. I should have gone to at least Khadakwasla for this seremony. Still after three years I can not forget the ugliest incidence, unfortunately while going to my office, I am every day crossing sangam bridge twice and most of the time when I see people perform 10 th day ceremony there, I really feel pity and curse the PMC. In spite of knowing the importance of this place PMC has not done anything for arrangement of clean water at least in this this part of river. The PMC by spending say 40 to 50 lacs can definately arrange clean water flow in this part of ghat exclusively menat for such ceremony. The bank of river can be drilled for this and through a borewell clean water can be fetched. I do not how many of blogers would agree on such idea.

Thank You

captsubh said...

I am indeed sorry to hear about the sad experience at Sangam ghat narrated anonymously in above comment.Shri.Suresh too has firstly commented about so much of filthy smell there in hot season...
१)२३ वर्षापूर्वी मी एका मृत नातेवाईकाच्या अस्थि घेवून आळंदीच्या इंद्रायणी नदीघाटावर गेलो.तेथील नदीच्या पात्रातील प्रचंड घाण व शेवाळे पाहून शिसारी आली पण अंधश्रद्धेपायी कशाबशा अस्थि विसर्जन केल्या.मग केलेल्या निश्चयाप्रमाणे त्यानंतर कधीच अस्थि ताब्यांत घेतल्या नाहित व कुठल्याहि घाटावर पाय ठेवले नाहित.
२)दूसरा वाईट अनुभव म्हणजे IMF च्या वतीने इतर स्वयंसेवकांबरोबर व PMC च्या आरोग्य विभागातील थोड्या कर्मचा-यांबरोबर ठरलेल्या एक दिवशी मुठा नदीच्या किना-यावर व उथळ पात्रात ती स्वच्छ् करायला सकाळी १० ते दूपारी २ पर्यंतपण उतरलो होतो.तेथील गाळ,घाण,कचरा,drain pipes मधून सतत येणारे मैलपाणी व सांडपाणी पाहून शिसारी व चीड आली.अशी सफ़ाई कित्येक दिवस केली तरी नदी घाणच राहणार याची खात्री पटली.PMC च्या दुर्लक्षामुळे आपल्या नद्या गटारे बनल्या आहेत.
३)अस्थिविसर्जनाची ही प्रथा बहुसंख्य व्यक्ती आजहि पाळतात हे लक्षात घेवून निनावी व्यक्तीने वरच्या comment मध्ये सूचविल्याप्रमाणे PMC ने सर्व नदी व घाटांची पूर्ण सफ़ाई करून घाटांवर स्वच्छ् पाण्याची व्यवस्था करावी!तसेच मैलपाणी/सांडपाणी मुळा मुठा नद्यांत वाहू न देता त्यावर filtration & treatment plant बसविण्याची सक्ती करावी!
सुभाष भाटे

Ranjeet said...

Ranjeet Comments -

The fact that the PMC and other environmental agencies fail to address this on-going water problem clearly points to a total neglect and dis-regard to conserving our natural resources and working along with nature. Rather, working with nature and using industrial processes and waste management practices to treat by-products would be an elegant manner to deal with the situation. The green house gases and the change in weather conditions is another example of neglect on a broader level across the globe. I looked at this problem in a different perspective. Smokers all around the world inhale that poisonous smoke into their lungs for 2 minutes of pleasure knowing very the effects it has on their health. So, when people knowingly damage their health, would they care about the health of the environment around them.

It is a sorry state of affairs as pointed by Capt Bhate and others. Hope more people become aware of this and join hands together to make a difference.

Recent floods in New Jersey are an indication of nature being more powerful than man's temporary commercial innovations. Living in harmony is what we were designed to do and lets stick to that to ensure the balance of life.

माधव बामणे said...

प्रदुष रोखणे हे प्रत्येकाचे आद्य कर्तव्य आहे. स्थानिक संस्थानी आपला भार जसा ऊचलला पाहिजे तसेच प्रत्येकाने निदान महापालिकेला माहिती अधिकाराखाली प्रश्न विचारले पाहिजेत. मी त्याकरता नमुना शोधत आहे. सकाळ्ने वर्तमानपत्रात छापला तर बरे होईल. कोणाकडे नमुना अर्ज असेल तर येथे पोष्ट करावा

AVas said...

What I believe that main problem with is with the attitude of the people of India. Just imagine that if people starts working for the basic work what they are appointed for, I believe that we will not be having our 90% of the problems.But we always have and need the checks on the work done by simple employee since we have learnt to avoid work as much as possible.

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