The increasing pollution in rivers and natural water sources in Maharashtra has always been a matter of concern — only 18 per cent of sewage is treated in the state, while the remaining 82 per cent is dumped in water bodies.
The Environment department alone cannot tackle such issues and other departments, such as the industries and urban development, need to keep tabs on polluting industries that dump waste into water bodies.
The state has appointed a seven-member water quality committee, under the supervision of Chief Secretary J.P. Dange, to monitor the quality of water sources. A government resolution (GR), issued on Tuesday, says the committee will comprise secretaries of departments such as environment, industry and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).
The panel will coordinate and collate information collected through different agencies on pollution, decide where industrial projects will be formed, whether sewage treatment plants are in place and identify areas where industries would not be allowed to come, the GR says.
“The idea is to see that all the departments involved with water pollution should work together to tackle the issue and improve the water quality in the state,” said Environment Secretary Valsa Nair-Singh, who is part of the committee.
The GR also emphasises that any state projects coming up along such rivers can be monitored through the committee.
Mahesh Pathak, member-secretary of the MPCB who will be a part of the committee, said it would bring about necessary rationalisation in the national water monitoring programme of the state. “We have 400 stations across the state from where we collect data on water quality and many agencies that are involved in the process,” Pathak said.
“The idea is to get all this data together and coordinate to decide where to concentrate,” he added.
He added that this would help them to decide which stretches are under huge stress and where to concentrate on improving the quality of water.