Prevention of Rivers Pollution


Prevention of Rivers Pollution

Date: 2/08/21

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with the Pollution Control Boards/Committees in different States/Union Territories (UTs) has been monitoring water quality of rivers and other water bodies in the country through a network of monitoring stations under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme. Pollution assessment of rivers has been carried out by CPCB from time to time. As per the latest CPCB report of September 2018, 351 polluted stretches were identified on 323 rivers, which include one stretch each on river Satluj in Punjab and river Sirsa (tributary of river Satluj) in Himachal Pradesh, one stretch each on river Beas in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, and one stretch on Kali Bein (tributary of river Beas) in Punjab.

Rivers in the country, including identified stretches of rivers Satluj and Beas, are polluted mainly due to discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage from cities/towns and industrial effluents in their respective catchments, problems in operation and maintenance of sewage/effluent treatment plants, lack of dilution and other non-point sources of pollution. Rapid urbanization and industrialization have compounded the problems.

Cleaning of rivers is an ongoing process. It is the responsibility of the States/UTs and local bodies to ensure required treatment of sewage and industrial effluents to the prescribed norms before discharging into water bodies or land to prevent and control of pollution therein. For conservation of rivers, excluding Ganga and its tributaries, this Ministry has been supplementing efforts of the States/UTs by providing financial and technical assistance for abatement of pollution in identified stretches of rivers in the country through the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). Under NRCP, pollution abatement projects for conservation of Satluj and Beas rivers have been implemented in 14 towns of Punjab namely Banga, Bholath, Dasuya, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Moga, Mukerian, Nawanshehar, Phagwara, Phillaur, SultanpurLodhi and Tanda at a total cost of Rs.717.32 crores with sewage treatment capacity of 648.20 million litres per day (MLD) created in these towns.

For prevention and control of pollution in river Satluj in Ludhiana, the Buddha Nallah Rejuvenation Project has been launched in December, 2020 at an estimated cost of Rs.840 crore. The project envisages construction of 2 new sewage treatment plants (STPs) of capacity 225 MLD at Jamalpur& 60 MLD at Balloke, refurbishment of 4 existing STPs of 418 MLD, Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) of capacity 40 MLD, 50 MLD & 15 MLD for cluster of small/medium scale dyeing industries, two Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) for 6 MLD waste from two dairy complexes, etc. To address the gap between sewage generation and treatment for remaining catchment areas of rivers Satluj and Beas, more STPs have been proposed.

Discharge of industrial effluents is monitored by CPCB and the respective State Pollution Control Boards/Committees through the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. The Central Government has notified General Discharge Standards and also industry specific effluent discharge standards under the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 which are required to be complied by the industrial units, STPs and/or the CETPs for prevention and control of pollution in water bodies. In case of non compliance with the prescribed norms, punitive actions are taken by the regulatory bodies under the relevant statutory provisions.

CPCB has issued directions from time to time to the concerned State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and the urban local bodies to ensure required treatment of municipal and industrial waste waters before discharging to rivers Satluj, Beas and their tributaries to prevent contamination of these rivers. Based on inspections carried out by CPCB in June, 2021, actions have been initiated as per the statutory provisions against the STPs, CETPs and the ETPs of grossly water polluting units found non-compliant.

In compliance of the orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Original Application No.673/2018 regarding polluted river stretches in the country, States/UTs are required to implement approved action plans for restoration of the said stretches in their jurisdiction within the stipulated timelines. As per the orders of NGT, regular review on implementation of action plans is undertaken in the States/UTs and also at Central level.

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