Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday criticised the Delhi government’s alleged failure to stop untreated waste water and sewage from emptying into the Yamuna.
“Industrial waste has come down but household waste has increased substantially, most of which remains untreated due to low capacity utilisation of effluent treatment plants. The government needs to seriously look into this direction,” he said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Delhi Climate Change Agenda 2009-2012 — a plan of action that cites measures and targets for improving environmental standards in the city — in sectors like air pollution, water, noise, municipal waste management and greenery.
“It is really very very unacceptable that in the capital city of India, only about 60 per cent of sewage is being treated and that too on paper as the capacity utilisation of the effluent plants is dismally low,” he added.
He pointed out that while Delhi generates about 3,800 million litres of sewage daily, only 2,500 ML are treated.
Asking Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit to take the Yamuna cleanliness programme as a challenge, he said there was no shortage of funds as almost Rs 1,200 crore has been made available through the Yamuna Action Plan.
Dikshit said environmental measures were slowed down by the procedural steps involved in getting funds sanctioned.
“We are taking steps, but the urban development ministry is not clearing our projects. For instance, the sewage interceptors is still stuck at the ministry. We need Rs 1,400 crore for putting up three interceptors for treating water falling into the Yamuna,” said a senior government official.
Dikshit said there was tremendous pressure on Delhi with the ever-growing population due to influx from states like UP and Bihar that she said was straining not just infrastructure, but also sewage facilities.
“In spite of all these problems we are taking steps to make the city green by involving the community,” she said, referring to the crackers campaign and setting up of city forests.