Visakhapatnam: Concerns over the cleanliness of natural stormwater drains in Visakhapatnam have prompted members of the Greater Visakhapatnam Citizens Forum (GVC) to demand immediate action from the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC).
During a meeting held on Sunday, GVC members discussed the challenges linked with these water streams and highlighted the pressing need for a sustainable plan to manage and redesign the drainage system.
Renowned architect Shabnam Patel and others pointed out that Visakhapatnam’s unique landscape directs most of these natural drains into the sea. Initially contributing to the city’s aesthetics and averting flooding, these waterways have now turned into conduits for wastewater due to urbanization and population growth.
According to the members, the dumping of solid waste, especially plastics, into these drains has led to pollution in coastal waters, posing a severe threat to marine life and even impacting the human food chain.
“The pollution in coastal waters is dangerous for marine creatures and affects the food we eat. After storms, the sea brings back plastic and waste to our beaches, leading to expensive cleanup operations. We urgently need to reduce waste flowing into these drains and, consequently, into the sea,” they emphasized.
Despite being a coastal city, authorities have not implemented significant improvements to the drainage system, they noted.
Highlighting the need to tackle climate change effects and strengthen the city’s resilience, the forum urged the prioritization of investments and redesigning of the drainage system in line with major infrastructure developments in the area.
Impressed by the suggestions put forth by the forum members, Dr. Naresh Kumar, the chief medical officer of GVMC, pledged to propose the installation of bioremediation equipment. He affirmed, “Efforts are underway to clean the drains and remove silt to prevent the city’s waste from reaching the sea.”
Forum President Lt. Col. (retd) AK Subbarao, Vice President Sohan Hatangadi, Secretary Capt N Viswanathan, and others also expressed their views during the meeting.
The GVC’s appeal spotlights the pressing need for immediate action to safeguard Visakhapatnam’s natural waterways and marine life, urging collaborative efforts between authorities and the community for a cleaner and healthier environment.