Mumbai, September 26: Bengaluru River spilling out foam over roads like this many news made rounds which shows the level of ‘threat’ we have cause to our rivers. As per the report of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), at least 3,000 million litres of untreated sewage and industrial effluents flow into rivers, water bodies or percolates into the ground in Maharashtra every day.
The report stated that the country generates 61,948 million litres of sewage a day (MLD), against a treatment capacity of 23,277 MLD. “The remaining 38,671 MLD untreated sewage is a major cause of countrywide water pollution and even harms citizens because it percolates into the ground,” said a senior MoEFCC official.
Maharashtra generates the maximum sewage in India at 13% with 8,143 MLD as against treatment of 5,160.36 MLD through sewage treatment plants (STPs), a shortfall of almost 3,000 MLD. In comparison, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) supplies 3,750 MLD water every day to Mumbai against a demand of 4,505 million litres a day.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that proper and safe sewage disposal is essential because 80% of diseases in India are caused by water-borne pathogens. In addition to health problems, inadequate sewage disposal causes severe environmental degradation.
The Supreme Court (SC) has recently rapped the state government for allowing the Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers to degrade. The Apex court told the state government there was ‘absolutely no coordination between authorities to protect the rivers’. On August 16, the SC formed a committee of experts headed by the state to restore the ‘degraded’ Mithi River in Mumbai and ensure the discharge of untreated sewage is addressed.
Officials from MoEFCC said a total sanctioned cost of Rs4,517.82 crore has been sanctioned under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) for pollution abatement measures for 31 rivers across 74 towns in 14 states.
“The rise in population has always outstripped the efforts for pollution control. The state pollution control board has already issued directions to all municipal corporations that 25% of their annual budget will be earmarked for sewage treatment facilities. Secondly, funds are being dispensed by the central government, which will further enhance the efforts to reduce pollution,” said Satish Gavai, Additional Chief Secretary of state environment department.