Avoid this pool in Dadar if you want to save your teeth and skin | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Avoid this pool in Dadar if you want to save your teeth and skin

Jan 03, 2024 09:12 AM IST

Over 150 members of a swimming pool in Mumbai protested against poor water quality, which has led to dental and skin problems for swimmers.

Mumbai : More than 150 members of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial swimming pool, in Shivaji Park, Dadar, turned up at its administrative offices on Tuesday in protest as their complaints about the poor quality of the pool’s water had gone unheeded over the last four months.

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Approximately 10,000 members pay 10,610 as annual fees each, which is likely to increase by 10 per cent in the next financial year. While this is the only affordable pool in the vicinity, it has cost members their health.

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Promising national level swimmers who train at the pool, and others, have been complaining about inferior quality of the filtered water which has led to dental and skin problems – many young swimmers have lost their teeth while others have been known to break into rashes. A group of water polo players and swimmers who have won state championships are on the verge of quitting, unable to bear the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) apathy.

National aspirant, Druven Naik, 18, had to get a set of caps when his otherwise pearly whites deteriorated after five hours of practise twice a day at the pool. “The excessive chlorine content chipped away all 32 teeth. The treatment I went through three months ago cost us 2.5 lakh,” said Naik. He participates in open water swimming nationally, which demands up to seven hours of training, which, he said “aggravated the dental problem”.

“There are other swimmers along with me who have faced similar issues and are unable to eat solid food. Our teeth guards also have to be changed frequently,” he added. “I don’t have a single original tooth. This was the only solution offered by my dentist as I could not stop swimming – it is my passion.”

Another national aspirant, polo player Prayag Jaiswal, 18, who has been training at the pool for 12 years, complained of “reduction of the size of my teeth, which have also become transparent and delicate, because of the chlorine levels”.

Worli resident Satish Hariyan brings his 11-year-old daughter Aditi to the pool to practise every day. She has won championships from 18 city clubs and won 150 medals. He said, “We have no option but to come here as we are trying for competitive swimming. Her teeth have become so sensitive that after just 45 minutes in water she is unable to eat for three hours. Even a gust of wind passing into her open mouth leads to pain. We are on the verge of quitting.”

Kavita Sameer Morvekar’s daughter cannot swim without goggles as her eyes burn. “There are complaints of skin rashes and burning sensation. Dentists prescribe mouthwash, but it cannot be used for a long period. Doctors are advising us to stop using the pool,” she said.

Arunkumar Mishra, a water polo coach for the Railways, who trains children here, concurred with the players and their parents. “No one can participate in competitive swimming from here. Three to four hours of practise severely affects their teeth,” he said.

40 of the 150-odd children affected, play polo and are between six and eight years. “How will they build endurance if they are unable to eat solid food,” said Mishra, blaming BMC for “playing with the health of these kids and members”.

“The contractor in-charge of maintaining the pool must have sub-contracted it to someone who is making a killing by using inferior chemicals,” said Mishra, who has been a member since four years.

Kids are not the only ones complaining though. Dadar resident Vidyadhar Modak, 65, underlined that the quality of water is not maintained. “The filtration plant works only intermittently. Three dentists have told me that they must be using some inferior chemical due to non-availability of chlorine. I have stopped swimming here as, who knows, the water may be cancerous,” said Modak.

When HT contacted Kishore Gandhi, deputy municipal commissioner, he said while the water’s pH levels are declared to members, “there really is some issue with the pumps” and to correct that tenders have been invited, which will be sanctioned in three months.

“However, temporarily, two pumps have been arranged, which will be operational in 15 days. The chlorination is related to the pumps – if its capacity is low, the amount of chlorine added is more, said the technicians. The quality of water will improve automatically, once the pumps are functioning to the optimum,” said Gandhi.

A S Deshmukh, the pool’s manager promised to resolve the issue in eight days. She said, “The chlorine content is not high, but we will put up a board declaring the chlorine content in the pool in future.”

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