Feb 8, 2007

Mithi River of Mumbai

Mithi River of Mumbai

2005 Monsoons and flooding brought attention to the Mithi river. Although the river flows through the most of the city, it is not at the center of any tourist or leisure activities. In fact, the river is a dumping ground of all the dirt, pollutants, and refuse in the city. Indian Government is intent on changing this.

Mithi river in Mumbai city, is a confluence of tail water discharges of Powai and Vihar lakes. Mithi river originates at Powai and meets Arabian sea at Mahim Creek flowing through residential and industrial complexes of Powai, Saki Naka, Kurla and Mahim over a distance of about 15 km. This river is treated like an open drain by the citizens who discharge raw sewage, industrial waste and garbage unchecked. Besides this, illegal activities of washing of oily drums, discharge of unauthorized hazardous waste are also carried out along the course of this river. The organic waste, sludge and garbage dumping has reduced carrying capacity of the Mithi river. The water with mixture of sewage and Industrial waste is a threat to marine life and the river is showing sign of total loss of such support system. Preliminary survey indicates that the pollution levels have reached an alarming stage.

Mahim bay area, where Mithi river meets Arabian sea, is a nominated bird sanctuary called “Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary” where migratory birds come for nesting. This part is full of mangroves and this fragile ecosystem requires considerations from pollution point of view, so that it is not destroyed.

Govt. of India intends to get an action plan for control of pollution in Mithi river and bring back the quality to its best uses.

Originating at Powai, Mithi river flows through Saki Naka, Safed Pool, around Santacruz airstrip, passing through thickly populated and industrial area like Jarimari, Bail Bazar, old airport road, Kalina (CST road), Vakola, Bandra Kurla complex, Dharavi and ends at Mahim creek. It serves as combined sewer for the area carrying sewage as well as storm water to sea. River bed is narrow in the initial stretch and is about 10 meters wide but at Bandra Kurla complex it is much wider.

The river passes through congested residential colonies including hutments, which let out raw sewage in the river and also throw garbage in it. Due to this reason, the river bed is full of sludge, garbage and vegetation growth like Hyacinth in many parts as can be seen from photographs enclosed for various locations. Cattle sheds in areas like Bail bazar, Jarimari, Andheri Kurla road etc. contribute animal waste.