Friday, August 11, 2017

Why are dogs turning blue in this Mumbai suburb? Kasadi river may hold the answer

As many as five such dogs have been spotted so far.
Why are dogs near Navi Mumbai’s Taloja industrial area turning blue? Untreated industrial wastes being released into the Kasadi river may be the answer. As strays often wade into the river for food, the waste is dyeing their fur a bright shade of blue. On Wednesday, the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell took pictures of a dog whose fur had been dyed blue.

The group filed a complaint with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on Thursday, saying animals in the area were suffering because dyes were being released directly into the river by industrial units. The area has nearly a 1,000 pharmaceutical, food and engineering factories.
“It was shocking to see how the dog’s white fur had turned completely blue,” said Arati Chauhan, resident of Navi Mumbai who runs the animal protection cell. “We have spotted almost five such dogs here and have asked the pollution control board to act against such industries,” she added.

As stays often wade into the river for food, the waste is dyeing their fur a bright shade of blue.
The polluted water is also likely to affect human health. In August 2016, fishermen were concerned that the polluted river water was affecting the stock of fish. They collected samples from the discharge of the common effluent treatment plant, which 300 industrial units use to treat their waste.

A water quality test at Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation found the waste treatment was inadequate. The levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) – the concentration of oxygen required to sustain aquatic life – was 80 milligram per litre (mg/L). Levels of chloride, which is toxic harms vegetation, aquatic life and wildlife, were also high. According to Central Pollution Control Board guidelines, fish die when BOD level are above 6 mg/L.
Levels above 3 mg/L make the water unfit for human consumption.HT had reported that untreated industrial waste pumped out by the plant had raised pollution levels in the Kasadi River to 13 times the safe limit.
The polluted Kasadi river.
“After numerous complaints to MPCB over the years, only the stench at Kasadi has reduced. However, the pollution levels continue to be extremely high and dissolved oxygen is negligible,” said Yogesh Pagade, member of a local fishing community who had conducted the study last year.

MPCB officials said they had taken cognisance of the complaint. “Allowing the discharge of dye into any water body is illegal. We will take action against the polluters as they are destroying the environment,” said Anil Mohekar, regional officer, MPCB, Navi Mumbai. “We have directed our sub-regional officer to investigate,” he added.
Animal rights activists have, however, asked whether the move comes too late. “We have only spotted blue dogs so far. We do not know if birds, reptiles and other creatures are affected or if they have even died owing to the dye discharged into the air,” said Chauhan.

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