Many of the Delhi government's projects to check pollution in the Yamuna "are flawed in their very concept", environmentalists in the Capital said a day after the Supreme Court rapped authorities over the issue.
The Yamuna's 22-km stretch in Delhi is barely 2% of its length, but contributes 70% of the pollution in the river.
The Delhi government is working on a project to prevent untreated sewage, through interceptors, from being dumped into the river. Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, a civil society consortium working for the Yamuna's protection, said, "Intercepting sewage is not the way out. A similar plan has already failed in Mathura. A closer look at the project report reveals several flaws."
"This will lead to a power crisis and pumps won't work. The Yamuna has become a sewage canal. The sewage must not enter the river at all. Any other effort is not going to help the Yamuna's cause," he said. "The Centre for Science and Environment has also criticised the plan which is worth hundreds of crores of rupees. The plan is not likely to produce the desired results," Mishra said.
Ravi Aggarwal of Toxics Link, an NGO working for environment protection, said, "The plan can clean the Yamuna, but only up to a limit. The river doesn't have adequate water - a prerequisite for any treatment plan to succeed. Even the Central Pollution Control Board has held these interceptor sewers cannot make water fit even for bathing."
"These interceptors can trap hitherto untrapped sewage, but nothing will be left in the river then. Much of the water is held back in Haryana," he said.
The government is laying interceptor sewers along the three major drains: in Najafgarh and on the supplementary drain and the Shahdara drain. The sewage will be taken to the nearest treatment plants to ensure that only treated sewage is discharged into the river.
The government is also laying sewerage systems in villages and unauthorised colonies.
"Combined with Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) phase II projects, these plans will ensure greater control of pollution," a senior official told this correspondent.
"Three new will be commissioned this financial year to increase the total sewerage capacity by March 2013. We're also expanding the capacities of two treatment plan," he said.