29th March 2014
Area: Mutha River bank, Mhatre Bridge to Sambhaji Bridge (Lakadi Pool)
Time: 6:30 am to 8:30 am
Today we started walking along the river bank near Mhatre bridge, at the beginning of the river-side road and walked till Lakadi Pool along the bank.
A stream with polluted water joins the main river channel just below Mhatre bridge. Near this area foul smell was prominent. Open defecation practice close to river water channel was noted.
Today our aim was just to get a feel, explore. A detailed study with the help of the map is required to understand the stretch of river in this area. There is a variety of habitats, in-stream and on banks. There is a canal joining the river near beginning of river-side road, a stream, Ambil oadha joining the river near Vaikunth.
There is also a small stream joining the river just below S. M. Joshi bridge, which is being manually filled-in by the silt, reason for the same we could not understand. We spotted many wheel-barrows there, and their marks were visible on the newly deposited silt in the stream. The stream still has water. The information about this stream needs to be collected and reasons for the actions to fill it, needs to be explored.
There is network of sewage carrying pipes along both the banks of river. In-flows from these pipes towards riverside were seen at intervals. This may be due to leakage from sewage pipeline. At places, these open inflows are disconnected forming stagnant pools of water. Such leakages are forming stagnant pools of water and also causing pollution of main river channel. (At one place in between Mhatre bridge and S.M. Joshi bridge, there is a pool of water near the out-flow pipe from the road, but there is no connecting pipe to carry it till river, so water forms a stagnant pool.)
Banks on both sides are approximately 20-30 feet wide from Mhatre Bridge till S.M Joshi bridge. Except for a few rock heaps here and there and manual deposition of silt in a patch near Vaikunth, the banks are covered with grasses and a few herbs. Alternanthera sessilis, Verbascum chinense, Cassia tora, Chrozophora rottleri, Euphorbia sp, Phyla nodiflora, Croton sp., Congress grass (Parthenium sp), Polygonum glabrum, Solanum xanthocarpum, Datura metel were observed in this area.
Some Babhul, Vilayati chinch, Karanj, Shevaga, Singapore cherry trees can be found along roadside edge of bank. At the roadside edge of the bank saplings of Karanj, Garden Almond & Jamun were planted and plants like Lantana, Castor were also seen. The river bank on vaikunth side shows Babhul, Subabhul & Rain trees.
In the stretch from S. M. Joshi bridge till Lakadi pool, wide concrete platforms are built. At two places, we saw cattle being kept and even people living there. Sugarcane residue lies in a large quantity which is brought there as a fodder. We saw a tempo coming in with sugarcane residue.
There are many natural rocky patches in-stream but some near the bank are formed by depositing large rocks which are covered by garbage heaps. Water Hyancith in some patches is removed but is just left on the garbage heaps and water around it, where it has regenerated. Wetland plants like Polygonum glabrum, Cyperus sp, Ludwigia angustifolia (Pan lawang), Canna sp. (Kardal) were seen at these in-stream rocky island patches.
Stretch after beginning of river-side road after Mhatre bridge and before S.M.Joshi bridge is relatively clean, the water is freely flowing. Near S.M.Joshi bridge there is a lot of garbage and also sacs containing garbage, construction debris dumped on the bank. Garbage was also being burnt near one corner of river bank.
Near Nanasaheb Peshwe Samadhi and under an arc of Lakadi pool towards Alaka Talkies chowk, there was a pool of stagnant water, a great breeding ground for mosquito no doubt. It’s astonishing with a river flowing at such a close proximity. This stagnant pool of water was covered with a carpet of duckweed (Lemna minor) indicating pollution (presence of nitrogen and phosphorous).
There are pebbles on the bank below S. M. Joshi bridge.
The birds we observed included;
Aquatic Birds: Pond Herons, Cattle Egrets, Black-winged Stilts, Common Sand-pipers in great number in the stretch between Mhatre bridge and S.M. Joshi bridge. Spotted one Intermediate Egret near S.M. Joshi bridge.
White-browed Wagtails, Common Myna, Jungle Myna, Crows, Sparrows on near-by bushes, White-throated kingfisher, Pigeons, Lapwings were seen along the banks.
From Mhatre Bridge till S.M.Joshi bridge, Pond Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Cattle Egret, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing were numerous. From S. M. Bridge till Lakadi Pool, Pariah Kites dominated the landscape.