The Bombay high court said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was duty-bound to ensure all the sewage generated in the city was treated before being discharged into the Arabian Sea. The bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed by a non-governmental organisation highlighting the fact that coastal water and the Arabian Sea were being polluted due to the discharge of untreated effluents
A bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar also directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to seek quarterly reports from the BMC over laying down of new sewer lines to ensure that all the waste generated was treated before being discharged into the sea.
The direction came after the court was informed that the city civic authority was unable to prevent the discharge of untreated waste into the Mithi river that flows into the Arabian Sea. The court was informed by MPCB counsel Sharmila Deshmukh that the BMC’s current sewage network did not connect the entire city and therefore, the existing sewage treatment plants (STPs) were working below their capacity.
As per an affidavit filed by the MPCB, while the total capacity of the city’s STPS was to treat 2,595 million litres per day (mld) of waste, it was treating only 2,016 mld. BMC’s counsel Anil Sakhre told the court that the civic body was aware of the problem and it was planning to lay down new sewer lines in the city. 11/07/2019 BMC needs to ensure sewage treated before discharge in sea.
He said around 2,012-km of new sewer lines had to be laid down across the city. The BMC has also commissioned eight new STPs, Sakhre told the court.
The court said the BMC was duty-bound to ensure that all the sewage generated in the city was treated at the several STPs managed by the civic body. The bench directed the MPCB to also ensure that the BMC connected the STPs in the city to the new or extended sewer lines within a reasonable period of time.