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Mithi River at Bandra
The Mithi river is in the centre.

River Mithi (aka Mahim River) is a river in Salsette Island, i.e, the island of the city of Mumbai. It is a confluence of tail water discharges of Powai and Vihar lakes. The river is seasonal and rises during the monsoons. The overflowing lakes also contribute to the river flow which is stopped by a dam in other times. During this season the river is a favourite with the anglers who catch large fish that have escaped from the lakes. Fishing is banned there.

The river is also a natural drainage channel which carries the excess waters during the monsoons. However it is filthy mainly due to the presence of slums and the discharge of industrial effluents.

Contents

Geographical structure of the river

The river originates from the overflow of Vihar Lake and also receives the overflows from the Powai Lake about 2 km later. It flows for a total of 15 km before it meets the Arabian Sea at Mahim Creek flowing through residential and industrial complexes of Powai, Saki Naka, Kurla, Kalina, Vakola, Bandra-Kurla complex, Dharavi and Mahim. The river has an average width of 5 m in the upper reaches, has been widened to 25 m in the middle reaches and up to 70 m in the lower reaches after the 26 July 2005 deluge (944 mm in 24 h on 26 July 2005).

Environmental relevance of the river

It is also less well known that the Mahim bay area, where Mithi River meets Arabian Sea is a nominated bird sanctuary where migratory birds come for nesting. This part is full of mangroves. When the river was not as polluted as it is today, it used to serve as an important storm water drain for Mumbai but as it has been used as a sewer over the years, its importance as a storm water drain has reduced and on the contrary, it poses as a hazard during high tide bringing polluted water into the city.

Environmental degradation of the Mithi

Very often, and this continues to happen, citizens dump raw sewage, industrial waste and municipal waste into the river, unchecked. Besides this, illegal activities like washing vessels, animals and oily drums, discharge of unauthorised hazardous waste are also carried out along the course of this river. Cattle sheds in some areas contribute animal waste. Barrel cleaners, scrap dealers and others dump sludge oil, effluent and garbage in the river. The organic waste, sludge and garbage dumping has reduced the carrying capacity of the river. The water with mixture of sewage and industrial waste is a threat to marine life. The river bed is full of sludge, garbage and vegetation growth like hyacinth in many parts.

Measures for revival of the River

In 2006, the Supreme court of India passed an order directing the state government to remove encroachments on all water bodies.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has undertaken a cleanliness drive lately so that the floods of July 26, 2005 are not repeated.

An eco-group has been formed by Rajendra Singh, an award winning conservationist in 2009.[1] It aims to revive the dying river.

Development

Many Young Entrepreneurs in and around Bombay are now aggressively involved with cause of Mithi River, and creating awarness on a global scale as the Government of India has once again started ignoring this extremly important issue. [2]

Recently a Contemporary Art show was held to create major awarness abt dire situation of Mithi River in Bombay by "Chintan Upadhyay" titled Khatti - Mithi[3]

References

External links

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