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BMC proposes float islands to clean rivers in Mumbai

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has apparently agreed to the proposal of floating islands to be installed in the city’s rivers. A non-governmental organisation (NGO), River March, had presented the scheme to civic body chief Ajoy Mehta, which, according to organisation members, he liked.

A floating island is a virtual habitat in which floating treatment wetlands (FTWs) allow terrestrial plants to flourish. These assist in the work of water purification, trap foul odour and help increase the availability of oxygen to protect aquatic life. The pilot island will be installed in Poisar river after the NGO raises funds. Besides Poisar, there are three other rivers in the city — Dahisar, Oshiwara and Mithi. The technique will use Canna indica and Vetiver aquatic plants, which are known to reduce pollutants.

While the cost and execution will be borne by River March, BMC will supply manpower to the organisation for smooth functioning. The civic body sought the plan from River March and the group will have to accede to certain conditions. The cost of a floating island, however, is yet to be ascertained. “The plan should have an exact location, along with the size of the floating island. It should not obstruct the desilting process of rivers,” said a BMC solid waste management department official.

Last year, River March experimented by releasing a floating island measuring 5 feet and 15 metres wide, on the Poisar river stretch last year. Gopal Jhaveri of River March said, “As of now, we are amassing sufficient funds to implement the project, for which we are consulting corporates and agencies within Mumbai. However, we will be talking to BMC about sharing responsibility for collecting and disposing garbage stuck on the floating islands.”

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