Mumbai managed a pathetic 147th rank in the Swach Bharat survey of cities across the country.
Rains were the main reason behind its low score. It hammered poorly maintained roads resulting in floods. These in turn caused a series of infectious diseases such as cholera, gastroenteritis, malaria, dengue and leptospirosis.
From municipal hospitals data, Around 12 people died in a week due to complications of leptospirosis. As the month unfolded, 16 succumbed to leptospirosis, eight needed hospitalization for cholera, and over a thousand for gastroenteritis, typhoid and jaundice. In a city where more over half the population (possibly 70%) visits private doctors, the real picture is likely to be more severe.
"Given Mumbai's population density of 23,000 people per square kilometer, all kinds of communicable diseases will spread easily," said Dr Nobhojit Roy, editor, the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics.
NGO Praja explained that Wards like P North (Malad, Malwani), K West (Andheri, Juhu), and R South (Kandivli, Charkop)that received the highest number of complaints on contaminated water also saw a high rate of diarrhoea cases in the past three years.
†Praja's project director Milind Mhaske said, "In 2014, the BMC took 17 days, on an average, to attend to a civic complaint. In fact, detailed statistics indicate that on an average it took 87 days for closing complaints related to contaminated water supply in S Ward (Bhandup-Kanjurmarg area)."
Dr Altaf Patel, director of medicine at Jaslok Hospital on Pedder Road, said, "The sanitary conditions in Mumbai are horrible and not much has been done to improve the situation. It is a breeding ground for diseases." Thailand was in a similar situation a few years, but had cleaned up its act.
†Mhaske said, "Our health report found that most deaths due to malaria, dengue and TB occurred in 20-40 age group". Navi Mumbai has fared a much better score when compared to Mumbai.†