Panel to check coastal pollution, if catch edible

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 26 Maret 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Acknowledging the rise in pollution of coastal waters that is affecting marine life and fishing, the state government on Monday appointed a high-level committee to check the problem and take preventive measures.

Fisheries minister Madhukar Chavan informed the legislative council that the committee, which will comprise representatives from the state pollution control board, revenue department, fisheries department and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), will meet once in three months to review the pollution.

NCP's Prakash Binsale said the government should check whether catch from coastal waters for fit for consumption, to which Chavan said this too would be done. A heated discussion on industrial and chemical pollution of coastal waters took place during the question hour. Initiating the discussion, BJP's Vijay Girkar claimed there has been a huge decline in fishing activity and sought compensation for fishermen. He said the fishing industry should be declared "drought-affected".

Chavan, however, said fishing activity in seas remained unaffected and there was no case to declare the industry as "drought-affected". But he acknowledged that discharge of industrial and chemical sewage into coastal waters in parts of Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg had led to decline in fishing.

He said nearly 24 sewerage treatment plants were operational in these parts to deal with the industrial sewage. Referring to a related court case, Chavan informed the legislative council that weekly water samples were being taken to monitor the pollution levels.

BJP's Ashish Shelar sought a financial stimulus for the fishing industry, while Vidya Chavan (NCP) said mangroves too were being damaged due to the industrial discharge.

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