Haryana’s solution for river pollution: Biodiversity parks to come up for rejuvenation of Yamuna, Ghaggar
Acting on the National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s recent directions to all states and Union Territories (UTs) to identify polluted river stretches and rejuvenate them, the Haryana government has decided to have huge biodiversity parks along its two rivers – Ghaggar and Yamuna – besides taking other time-bound steps.
Ghaggar which enters Haryana’s Panchkula district from Parwanoo side of Himachal Pradesh, with comparatively less water, touches four districts —Panchkula, Ambala, Fatehabad and Sirsa — which hardly have any polluting industries - in the state before entering Rajasthan.
Unlike Ghaggar, Yamuna river, which enters Haryana’s Yamunanagar district from Uttarakhand side, however, criss-crosses Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat, Sonepat, Faridabad and Palwal districts – which have a number of polluting industries – in the state before entering Delhi.
The Haryana pollution control board’s (HPCBs) plans include increasing the capacity of waste water treatment plants (both domestic and industrial effluent), tapping of sewage in unapproved areas, prevention of dumping of solid waste in rivers and creation of biodiversity parks and recharging of riverine ecosystems through phyto/bio remediation.
Bio-remediation is to introduce microorganisms to treat effluent of different types, while phyto remediation refers to the type of bio-remediation which uses different types of plants to remove, transfer or stabilise various pollutants through biological and metabolic processes. Being a natural process, these mechanisms require less supervision and ensure complete removal of pollutants from the system through their metabolic processes, though these are relatively slow processes and are not successful against all types of heavy metals, HPCB member secretary S Narayanan told HT.
Nonetheless, the state is proceeding with the said remediation measures and the departments of public health and engineering and urban local bodies and Haryana shehri vikas paridhikaran (HSVP) have been advised to take up bio-remediation in the drains for mitigating the effluent pollution.
BIO DIVERSITY PARKS
Narayanan says that biodiversity parks would serve multiple purposes besides cleaning up the banks and rejuvenating the rivers. He says that the HPCB has already made a proposal to chief secretary to convene a meeting of all the departments concerned.
“The state would soon identify suitable sites of dumping along the river banks and specific points from where polluting slush or sewer enter the two rivers, plant multiple species and establish biodiversity parks,’’he says and adds that this would also permanently sort out the menacing dumping of municipal solid waste, bio-medical waste and construction and demolition waste along the river beds.
The NGT has also appointed an executing committee under the chairmanship of former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge justice Pritam Pal (retd), and former chief secretary of Haryana, Urvashi Gulati for monitoring of implementation of Ghaggar action plan. Likewise, for Yamuna river, the monitoring committee has Shailaja Chandra, former chief secretary, Delhi, and B S Sajwan, former member, NGT, as members.