Today's "field trip" was a very interesting one indeed, to the Maharastra Pollution Control Board! I had a brief meeting with Shri Milind Mhaiskar on the background of the agency and some of the environmental awareness challenges it is facing. After this, Mr. Bharat Nimbarte, MPCB's enthusiastic and informative Regional Officer for New Mumbai, took me to a number of fascinating sites.
The first of these was the New Mumbai Common Effluent Treatment Plant. This facility caters especially to small industries who are not able to treat their own effluents to the standards required for them to be discharged into the environment. We climbed to the terrace of the administrative building for a better view of the following:
|The effluent comes here first.|
|Microorganisms cleanse the effluent during this stage.|
|The sludge settles to the bottom and clean, clear water is discharged into the Trans-Thane Creek.|
The CETP's administration then made a wonderfully educational PowerPoint presentation which I hope to receive soon and share with the AP Environmental Science students at Flint Hill.
Our next visit was to a sewage treatment plant, one of the seven in New Mumbai. This plant receives 100 million liters of domestic sewage per day, and I enjoyed comparing the facility to the similar plant we visited in Pittsburgh with Mr. Chanania last year -- it was a great reminder of the primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment processes!
After a detailed tour of each stage of the complex's sewage treatment process, we headed to our final destination -- a hazardous waste management facility. This plant is known across India as an example of ideal hazardous waste management! Hazardous waste that comes to the site can be dealt with in one of three ways:
1. It is buried directly in a landfill.
2. It is buried in a landfill after treatment.
3. It is incinerated.
I was able to explore the fascinating facilities for all three of these possibilities, before the administration gave us a detailed overview of the above processes.
Today was like a school field trip! I clearly learned so much in a field about which I care so much, and moreover got to see it with my own eyes, up close and personal. I would especially like to thank Mr. Nimbarte for taking more than seven hours out of his day to accompany me to these sites, giving me briefings and knowledge throughout. Only someone truly dedicated to the environment and our duty of its conservation would be so selfless and thoughtful.
I spent half of the car ride back to Sion discussing with Mr. Nimbarte the importance of our generation's commitment to the environment, and the remainder attempting to meditate on a rather bumpy road. Back home, I took a nine-minute shower to rinse away the psychological sludge before enjoying dinner with the Gaikwads. We started planning the rest of my stay in Mumbai, and the next few days are looking exciting!