Plastic replaces sand at JuhuClogged stormwater drains bring 10 times as much
debris to beach in monsoon. Contractor says desilting would have helpedAnumeha
Mumbai, July 8: If you’re visiting the beach in the monsoon, you don’t expect a
sunny day. But at Juhu Beach, you don’t get any sand either.
Instead, as far as the eye can see, the 6-km stretch is covered by a patina of
plastic bags and assorted debris. As the waves crash onto the shore, it seems
like the ocean is trying to spit out the garbage—and failing miserably as every
ebbing wave drags it back.
This despite the Rs 30 lakh the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) pays
Anthony Waste Handling Company every year to keep the stretch clean.
‘‘We are doing the best we can,’’ insists Jose Jacob, director of Anthony Waste
Handling. ‘‘Every day, we remove about 60 tonnes of garbage from the beach.’’
So why is there still so much left? ‘‘This happens every monsoon,’’ says Jacob.
‘‘Clogged stormwater drains bring tonnes of plastic bags to the beach from the
Koliwada and Chandan Cinema areas. We are just unable to deal with the load.’’
The average volume of trash dumped on the beach every day is usually about 7
tonnes. In the monsoon, the volume is almost 10 times more. Jacob insists the
situation would never have got so bad if the stormwater drains had been desilted
before the rains.
Meanwhile, the trash is proving a nightmare for locals. ‘‘Every time I take a
dip, I end up with itchy skin,’’ says Bhima Goene (20), a Santacruz resident who
is a regular at the beach.
Sea Princess Hotel H R Executive Richard Rodrigues says the garbage has even
started to affect business. ‘‘Every year, we try and clean the stretch directly
on front of our establishment, but it doesn’t really help,’’ he shrugs.
Now, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Environment and Waste Management) P R
Sanglikar has promised to take action.
‘‘I was apprised of the situation on Tuesday,’’ he admitted. ‘‘Within the next
10 days, we will put steel bars wherever stormwater drains run under roads or
bridges in the Chandan Cinema and Koliwada areas—to filter the waste.”Meanwhile,
the beach continues to choke on plastic.