Sewer waste from east Delhi flows into drains, pollutes Yamuna
Despite being ‘completely sewered’, only about 30% households in East Delhi have got legal connections, says a report by the Yamuna Monitoring committee.
The submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) earlier this month says the faecal sludge flow into the drains and ends up in the Yamuna, adding to its pollution load. .
According to the report, even in colonies notified as ‘sewered’, a large number of households had not taken regular sewer connections. Others continued to discharge their sewage into the drains.
“The committee was informed that in East Delhi, which is completely sewered, the household sewer connectivity was as low as 30%. There were colonies like West Jyoti Nagar and Shahdara where household sewer connectivity was still lower at 12%,” the report said.
The NGT-appointed two-member Yamuna Monitoring Committee comprises former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra and retired NGT expert member B S Sajwan.
The committee, in its previous reports before the tribunal, has been highlighting that faecal sludge from the 1797 unauthorised colonies, of which 436 have a sewerage network, has been polluting the river and needs to be contained. In these colonies, only 70,900 out of 2.34 lakh households have taken connections, it said.
Last December, the Delhi government had launched the Mukhya Mantri Free Sewer Yojana under which people are entitled to get free sewer connections by March 31 this year. But officials in the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said not many applications had come so far.
“If implemented, the policy would make a major dent on the situation of sewage flowing into drains around unauthorised colonies,” the report said.
The DJB is conducting a survey in unauthorised colonies, which are due to be regularised, to identify the number of houses without valid connections. The survey that started last month has covered more than 55,000 houses so far, officials said.
“Of these, around 11,500 houses have been identified without connections, of which around 10,000 are from East Delhi colonies. We have surveyed 27,000 households in East Delhi area so far,” said a senior DJB official, who did not wish to be named.
“We are organising camps in these colonies to urge people to come out and register with us. We assist them in filling up the forms. We hope the process to pick up soon,” he added.
The Delhi government is working on laying a sewerage network in 544 more colonies, which is estimated to be completed by 2022.
The committee in its report also stated that while providing sewer connectivity, DJB must ensure that not only black water (faecal discharge), but all sewage water (including grey water) should be connected to the sewer network.
Experts said 100% sewer connectivity must be the priority to keep major sources of water clean.
Manoj Misra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan said, “This is a serious problem. Untreated sewage is a major contributor to pollution in the Yamuna. It is unfortunate that on the one hand we claim the area is sewered but on the other people are not aware about the significance of getting connected to the system.”
He said, for instance, if East Delhi has 100% connectivity, then sewage in the Shahdara drain will be trapped and treated.