Waste dumped in drains polluting Yamuna: Panel
A team of the NGT-appointed Yamuna pollution monitoring committee in the national capital has found large quantities of solid waste and polythene dumped in storm water drains across the city that empty into the river, polluting it.
East Delhi’s Shahdara and Balbir Nagar, Subhash Nagar in west and southwest Delhi’s Najafgarh drains have been identified as the major dumping grounds.
The drains have been choked with municipal solid waste, polythene bags, construction and demolition waste being dumped into them over the years, said a member of the inspection team.
“We visited a number of areas and found private contractors, residents and employees of municipal corporations dumping waste into or near drains. Locals were seen dumping domestic waste in polythene bags even as the surrounding residential areas have corporation’s garbage collection vans coming in,” said a member of the inspection team on the condition of anonymity.
After almost a month-long inspection, the team has submitted its recommendations to the committee that has been appointed by the NGT for overseeing the implantation of court order for revival of the Yamuna.
“We have suggested municipal corporations to take up public awareness drives in residential areas, including unauthorised colonies to sensitise people to the cause of the river and their own water supply needs being attached to it,” the expert said, adding, “Also, civic bodies must issue challans to those found dumping as well as take action against its staffers found engaged in violating green norms.”
As per NGT norms, a fine of ₹50,000 has to be levied for dumping construction and demolition waste in the river or in the open. For dumping of domestic waste, a challan of ₹5000 could be issued.
Municipal corporations, however, said they have been encouraging people to segregate household waste as well as issuing challans to violators.
East Delhi Municipal Corporation commissioner Dilraj Kaur said the corporation is taking up cleaning of drains in phases. “We cleaned up the Patparganj drain that has its outfall in the Yamuna. We will take up Kanti Nagar drain cleaning next. Also, we have been issuing challans to those found dumping waste and have declared three model wards — Anand Vihar, Yamuna Vihar and Mayur Vihar phase-I, where segregation of waste is being done by households. We will expand this to other wards as well.”
The team also found interceptor drains not working at optimum capacity and untreated sewage being discharged into the river. “The sewage from unauthorised colonies (which do not have sewerage network) is still being discharged into the storm water drains. We visited the area from Mukarba Chowk to Okhla and found untreated sewage emptying into the river,” said Professor S K Singh, department of environment, Delhi Technological University, who is one of the expert members in the team.
Setting up small sewage treatment plants (STPs) in every habitat area is the only way to ensure that only treated sewage is discharged into the river, said Singh.
“Decentralised STPs can be a long-term solution,” he added.
Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan said, “All these storm water drains empty into the river adding massive pollutants and choking the river bed. This also impacts the river’s capacity to recharge groundwater. The agencies must aggressively start issuing penalties to discourage dumping and to save the already dying river.”