Ghaziabad civic body declares 94 wards eligible for “water plus” certification - Hindustan Times
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Ghaziabad civic body declares 94 wards eligible for “water plus” certification

Dec 23, 2021 12:36 AM IST

The “water plus” certificate is awarded to cities that have met all the ODF Double Plus (ODF++) standards, a certification that Ghaziabad received in March this year

The Ghaziabad municipal corporation has declared 94 of its 100 residential wards eligible for the “water plus” certification and has invited public objections/suggestion in the next 15 days. The “water plus” certificate is awarded to cities that have met all the ODF Double Plus (ODF++) standards, a certification that Ghaziabad received in March this year.

There are many illegal residential colonies on the floodplains of Hindon river, whose sewage go directly into the river. (HT Archive)
There are many illegal residential colonies on the floodplains of Hindon river, whose sewage go directly into the river. (HT Archive)

The “water plus” protocol aims to provide a guideline to cities and towns to ensure no untreated wastewater is released into the environment, thereby enabling sustainability of the sanitation value chain. According to the protocols of the “water plus” under the Swachh Bharat Mission, a city/ward/circle/zone can be declared as water plus provided all wastewater released from households, commercial establishments, drains, nullahs, etc. is treated to a satisfactory level (as per norms set by the Central Pollution Control Board), before releasing the treated wastewater to the environment.

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Further, there should be adequate sewage treatment facilities with the capacity to treat sufficient quantities of wastewater. The infrastructure should be maintained properly and cost recovery is ensured through reuse / recycling of treated wastewater to ensure sustainability.

“We are applying for ‘water plus’ category. As part of the process, the initial declaration is done by the city and later it is to be verified by the state and then the Centre. We received the ODF++ certification in March this year, when we learnt that we can apply for the ‘water plus’ certification, which is a step higher than ODF++, only after six months. We are complying with 80% of the parameters and we feel that we are ‘water plus’ now,” said municipal commissioner M S Tanwar.

“Once we get the certification, we will be able to get rank better in Swachh Survekshan. So far, we have declared only 94 wards as ‘water plus’, and not the six wards of Indirapuram as the locality is yet to be handed over to the corporation,” he added.

Environmentalists said the city is still far from actually getting a “water plus” certification. “In many localities, the drainage system is absent and the entire drainage gets mixed with sewage and vice versa. There are several drains, which still flow untreated into Hindon river. This not only exposes the preparedness of the agencies but also has adverse impact on the environment and biodiversity,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist and a lawyer.

The councillors in the municipal corporation also raised questions over the city’s declaration of 94 wards being “water plus”.

“There are many illegal residential colonies on the floodplains of Hindon river, whose sewage and drainage goes directly into the river near Chijarsi and Kanawani villages. Further, the high court in a petition directed the corporation to construct a drain in Sai Upvan as it goes untreated into the river. The drain has not been constructed till date,” said Rajendra Tyagi, a councillor from Raj Nagar.

“Further, the functionality of the sewage treatment plants needs to be checked before the city goes ahead with its plan of applying for the “water plus” certification.

Civic officials could not provide the figures of sewage, drainage and treated water in the city. However, the officials of the water works department said they have initiated the process for bio-remediation of untreated drains.

“The pilot projects of bioremediation have been initiated for the drains at Arthala, Pratap Vihar and Brij Vihar to ensure no untreated water goes into the river,” said an officer from the water works department.

Under many conditions for “water plus” certification, a city has to ensure 100% operations and maintenance costs of sewer networks/STPs etc are being recovered; a Minimum of 25% wastewater is being reused after treatment at city level for purposes such as horticulture, agriculture, industrial use, cleaning roads etc; designed capacity of STP is sufficient to treat 500 litres per day per household (or 100 liters per person) through a decentralized or centralized treatment plant for the number of households connected to a sewer, etc.

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