The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued directions to the State Pollution Control Boards to take legal action against 27 polluting industries along the banks of river Ganga that are not complying with the prescribed standards.
These industries, though have installed Effluent Treatment plants (ETPs), they are reportedly not complying with standards laid by the CPCB. The Board has directed that action should be taken against them under Section 18 of Water Act, 1974, official sources said.
Among 146 industries identified by the CPCB as "grossly polluting", 76 are in Kanpur alone. Board sources said among the "grossly polluting" industries, 82 have installed ETPs and are reported to be complying with the standards.
However, 35 industries are reported to have been closed.
In Uttrakhand part of the river stretch, of the two grossly polluting industries, one is reported to have installed the ETP, while the other has closed down, the sources said.
A total of 132 drains empty everyday into the Ganga along its stretch between Rishikesh and Prayagraj. Of these 61 are in Allahabad alone. Kanpur contributes to the river pollution with its 22 drains, followed by Hardwar with 20 drains.
Since the "pollution load" of Ganga was not covered fully under the Ganga Action Plan Phase-I, the Phase-II was expanded to include its major tributaries namely Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and Mahananda as well.
The GAP-I was launched by the Government in 1985 with the objective of treating 882 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage and improving its water quality to bathing class standards. This phase was declared completed in March, 2000 with the creation of sewage treatment capacity of 865 MLD. GAP-II is presently under implementation.
A sewage treatment capacity of 933 MLD has been created for the Ganga so far under the two phases of GAP through installation of ETPs.
The sources said that the Government has signed a loan agreement with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) for undertaking pollution abatement works of the river at Varanasi.
Assistance has also been sought from the same agency for similar projects at Allahabad and Kanpur.
The water quality of the river has shown improvement at major locations, over its pre-GAP quality, as per the water quality monitoring undertaken by independent reputed institutions like CPCB, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd , Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and Indian Toxicological Research Centre, Lucknow, the sources said.