Moshi going the Uruli-Devachi way? Typhoid, dysentery cases on the rise

MPCB reports alarming rise in coliform content, including feacal coliform, in Moshi groundwater.

For residents of Moshigaon and nearby areas a landfill site of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is causing worry, and disease. Other than the stench, of late, typhoid, dysentery and diarrhoea cases have shown an upswing.

According to recent reports of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), the coliform content, including feacal coliform, in Moshi groundwater has been rising alarmingly.

This, experts point out, could be due to contamination by leachate, the run-off from the dump.

A well at Moshi is the lone source of water for MPCB to check groundwater quality twice a year under the Monitoring of Indian National Aquatic Resources (MINARS) Project. The bi-annual reports, other than noting dissolved oxygen, bio-chemical oxygen demand, pH and other parameters take a count of coliform bacteria including faecal coliform in water.

The report of last November showed a coliform count of 425 (MPN)/100 ml and faecal coliform count of 35 per 100 ml. The earlier April report had shown a lower count; coliform 325 and faecal coliform 40.

Suresh Khandale, additional director, Groundwater Survey and Development Authority (GSDA), commenting on the MPCB reports stated that groundwater contamination leachate is a serious issue for areas both upstream and downstream municipal solid waste sites. "We had observed that areas in the periphery of the landfill site at Uruli-Devachi also suffered from similar contamination, which is difficult to control," he said.

With summer almost in and the likelihood of severe water cuts in Moshi, the greatest fear is waterborne diseases which have been rising for the past few years. Dr Vidya Dere, a general medical practitioner in the area, told Newsline that typhoid has suddenly shot up in the last few years.

"Earlier, typhoid cases were rare. These days, we have been getting two to three cases every week," she said. Local resident Purussottam Gavane said stomach ailments and other waterborne diseases peak mostly in summer, when water cuts are enforced by the Municipal Corporation.

"Last April and May a lot many cases of typhoid were reported. Majority of cases happened because residents were forced to use water from the bore well due to water cuts," he said.

Sanjay Kulkarni, PCMC deputy engineer, stated that the corporation has undertaken capping of garbage at the landfill site to stop generation of leachate. "We have completed capping of garbage in the first phase, and have asked for budgetary provision for the same in this year's budget. Once the garbage is capped, it would not be exposed to air, and leachate would not be formed," he said.

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