Month-long plan to clean up Yamuna
Following orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to clean up the Yamuna river, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has planned a month-long, statewide campaign to increase public awareness about the polluted and ways to rejuvenate it through community participation.
According to an official circular and timetable issued to all regional offices of the HSPCB on January 16 (a copy of which is with HT), the campaign will involve river clean-up drives, quizzes, street plays and other activities for citizens and students. As per the timetable, two major clean-up drives are scheduled to be held in the city — on February 10 and February 21 — in collaboration with the district administration and RWAs.
In Faridabad, the drive will be held on February 24. Other districts, which will be part of the campaign, are Hisar, Sonepat, Dharuhera, Panipat, Jhajjar, Bahadurgarh, Karnal, Palwal, Bhiwani, Panchkula, Yamuna Nagar and Ballabhgarh, all of which discharge their sewage (either untreated or partially treated) into the Yamuna. The awareness drive is scheduled to end on February 28, with a community awareness programme in Gurugram.
S Narayanan, member secretary, HSPCB, said, “It is extremely important for the public to be aware of how they contribute to clean up these common resources. We will be seeking the help of various stakeholders, such as the education department and citizens’ groups, to help implement the awareness programme. While civic bodies are already working on the Yamuna action plans, the larger public also needs to be roped in to ensure the plan’s success.”
On paper, Haryana has the capacity to recycle about 80% of the domestic effluents it releases into the Yamuna river, but four years after the NGT first ordered a thorough clean-up of the river, the state continues to discharge at least 1140MLD of untreated or partially treated sewage into the Yamuna.
Official numbers also indicate that Gurugram and Faridabad districts are the state’s biggest polluters, discharging close to 55% of untreated or partially treated sewage into the river. This comes to about 620MLD of sewage per day. Moreover, of the state’s 11 polluting drains, five originate in Gurugram and Faridabad, as per a Yamuna monitoring committee report from last year.
A total of 79 sewage treatment plants (STPs) have been proposed in these districts, with a capacity to treat about 905MLD sewage (about 80% of the total 1,118 MLD generated by urban townships). However, the monitoring committee had observed last year that only nine of these STPs were functioning effectively. About 29 were discharging partially treated effluents, while 41 were discharging untreated effluents or are yet to be constructed.
The Haryana government’s Yamuna Action Plan, which aims to make all STPs in Haryana’s NCR districts fully functional, has been given a deadline of December 2020.