Mumbai, May 11: Seafood-lovers in the city have reasons to worry. A countrywide survey by the Union government on the quality of seawater, reveals Mumbai has the ‘longest stretch of polluted seawater’ in India.
This means, that clean water, in other cities, is found at a distance of 2 km from the seashore, but in Mumbai, the distance is 5 km. This is where most fishing takes place.
Not 5 but 10 km
Said Rajaunsh Tapke, editor, Sagar Shakti, a fishing-based journal, “Water in the city is polluted not just up till 5 km, but close to 10 km. Most of the fishing takes place there.”
He added that seawater was polluted across Maharashtra’s coastline from Dahanu to Sindhudurg. Sewage pollutes the shore near cities, while other parts are polluted due to the release of untreated chemical waste into the sea.
Damage to nervous system
Officials from the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and the state’s fisheries department said cases of damage to the nervous system to food poisoning, depending on the material polluting the water, are detected among those eating affected seafood.
The survey also claims municipal sewage is the biggest polluter in the city. A Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) official said, “The sewage is mostly untreated.” MPCB data also suggests that seawater is turning alkaline and the level of dissolved oxygen, essential for life under water, is fast depleting.
“Pollution has driven away fish like shellfish, boi fish and crabs from creeks like Dharavi, Sewree, Mahul, Trombay, Worli, Mazgaon and Thane,” said Ramkrishna Keni from the Koli Mahila Sangharsh Samiti.
Said activist Debi Goenka, “Edible creatures like prawns, lobsters and crabs are found in mangroves, marshy lands and closer to the shore and thus we are at risk.”
Meanwhile, fishermen were unwilling to confirm the dangers of eating seafood, but admitted that fewer varieties of fish are available than before near the city’s coast.