At least 8250 million litres of raw sewage flows into the River Ganges and it’s tributaries each day.Unabated raw sewage flowing into Ganga and has been occurring for decades.[1]

The Ganga River is polluted with sewage. One can see it and smell it in the water and can see the countless open drains flowing untreated into the river. Even though  the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) came into place in 1986, we continue to deal with the same problems 25 years and thousands of crores of rupees later.[2]

What are these problems? Why are we still dealing with a Ganga Sewage Crisis?

Firstly, it’s a purely numbers game – demand vs supply. The Ganga Action Plan was committed to abating 2794 million litres (MLD) of raw sewage from the river even though 10 years ago there were 8250 MLD of sewage flowing into the Ganga Basin every day. If one intends to only clean up 1/5th of the sewage present in water, it won’t appear much better, especially when the flow of the river has been declining, the population increasing and the volume of sewage increasing. [2]

Secondly it’s about what has actually been set up — 29 poorly functioning sewage treatment plants. The Comptroller Auditor General report tabled in parliament in December 2011 confirms that the river remains critically polluted and that the 29 sewage treatment plants installed so far are poorly equipped to treat sewage for Indian conditions. [4]

Thirdly its about design, ensuring that sewage treatment plants completely treat the sewage, reclaim water and precious nutrients, require minimal electricity to operate, remove harmful disease causing pathogens and that sequester carbon.. The sewage treatment plants put into place were poor at doing this.

Fourthly it’s about monitoring and research. The recent audit report released in 2011 by the Comptroller and Auditor General observes that the Ministry of Environment & Forests and a number of states didn’t comply to monitoring and measurement procedures, failing to complete inventories, pollution tests, identifying contaminants, risk assessments, adopt the right approach etc. If the government fails to track levels of pollution it will remain unaware of the problem.[4]

As result of all these flaws in the system, the Ganga is still dirty.

Despite 3401 crore rupees [4] being spent and the fact that the Union Government has been reminded time and again through reports from different official groups as well as through the loss of a court case in 2006 for failing to implement it’s promise, it still hasn’t risen to the occasion.

————

[1] Comptroller & Auditor General report (2000) http://www.cag.gov.in/reports/scientific/2000_book2/gangaactionplan.htm

[2] Central Pollution Control Board report (2001) http://www.cpcb.nic.in/newitems/8.pdf

[3] Hamner, S., Tripathi, A., Mishra, R.K, Bouskill, N., Broadaway, S.C, Pyle, B.H, Ford, T.E. (2006). The role of water use patterns and sewage pollution in incidence of water-borne/enteric diseases along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India. International Journal of Environmental Health Research April 2006; 16(2): 113 – 132.

[4] Performance Audit of Water Pollution in India, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, 2011 http://saiindia.gov.in/english/home/Our_Products/Audit_Report/Government_Wise/union_audit/recent_reports/union_performance/2011_2012/Civil_%20Performance_Audits/Reort_21/Chap_2.pdf

[5] Law Commission of India, 186th Report on Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts, September 2003 http://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/reports/186th%20report.pdf

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  1. […] बंद करो! Clean Ganga Campaign Skip to content HomeStop the SewageGanga Sewage CrisisImpacts of the sewageA Solution ExistsSelecting the Right Sewage […]

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