Current Affairs

GANGA POLLUTION AND GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES

 

GANGA POLLUTION AND GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES

News

According to official sources, CGF has received around Rs 66.20 crore till August 14 this year. Of the amount, Public Sector Undertakings alone have contributed about Rs 13 crore between April and mid-August 2015.

Analysis

Most religious beliefs involve some ceremonial use of “holy” water. The purity of such water, the belief in its known historical and unknown mythological origins, and the inaccessibility of remote sources, elevate its importance even further. In India, the water of the river Ganga is treated with such reverence.

It is important because:

  • The densely populated Ganga basin is inhabited by 37 per cent of India’s population.
  • The entire Ganga basin system effectively drains eight states of India.
  • About 47 per cent of the total irrigated area in India is located in the Ganga basin alone.
  • It has been a major source of navigation and communication since ancient times.
  • The Indo-Gangetic plain has witnessed the blossoming of India’s great creative talent.

Causes of pollution

The rapid explosion of India’s population in the last 25 years coupled with lax regulations on industry has put a huge strain on the river leading to an explosion in Ganges river pollution.

Human waste

The river flows through 29 cities in which cities population living above ten lakh. A large proportion damp the solid and liquid wastes in Ganga river like domestic usage (bathing, laundry and public defecation), Sewage wastes, unburnt dead bodies through in Ganga river. Patna and Varanasi cities are more responsible to water pollution in Ganga and 80 % sewage wastes are responsible to water pollution of Ganga.

Approximately 1 billion litres of raw, untreated sewage are dumped in the river on a daily basis. The amount has more than doubled in the last 20 years and experts predict another 100% increase in the following 20 years.

Industrial waste

Countless industries lies on the bank of the Ganga river from Uttrakhand to West Bengal like chemical plants, textile mills, paper mills, fertilizer plants and hospitals waste. These industries are 20 % responsible to water pollution and run off solid waste and liquid waste in the Ganga river. It is very dangers to water quality, their chemical properties and riverine life.

The levels of Coliform bacteria is over 2800 times the level considered safe by the W.H.O (world health organisation).

Religious factor

Festivals are very important and heartiest to every person of India. During festival seasons a lot of peoples come to Ganga Snans to cleanse themselves. After death of the people dump their asthia in Ganga river it is a tradition of India because they think that Ganga gives mukti from the human world. Khumbha Mela is a very big festival of the world and billion peoples come to Ganga Snans at Allahabad, Hardwar in India. They through some materials like food, waste or leaves in the Ganges for spiritualistic reasons.

Government initiatives

The Ganga Action Plan was launched on 14th January 1986 with the main objective of pollution abatement, to improve water quality by interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage and toxic and industrial chemical wastes present, from identified grossly polluting units entering in to the river.

After reviewing the effectiveness of the “Ganga Action Plan”, the Government announced the “Mission Clean Ganga” project on 31st December, 2009 with the objective that by 2020, no municipal sewage and industrial waste would be released in the river without treatment, with the total budget of around Rs.15,000 crore.

The Government also established the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), chaired by the Prime Minister, with the objective to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga, by adopting a river basin approach for comprehensive planning and management.

Clean Ganga Initiative

The proposal to set up CGF is to attract private contributions globally for increasing people’s participation in this massive task.

Considering that there is a need to increase people’s participation from across the country and abroad, it is proposed to set up a “Clean Ganga Fund (CGF)” with voluntary contributions. The main features of CGF are:

  • CGF will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of improving the cleanliness of the river Ganga with the contributions received from the residents of the country, NRIs/ PIO and others.
  • CGF will be operated through a bank account by a Trust.  Domestic donors to the fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as in the case of “Swachch Bharat Kosh”. Foreign donors could get suitable tax exemptions in domestic law.
  • CGF will be catalytic in nature and will identify and fund specific projects which could be pilot projects, R&D projects, innovative projects or other focused projects.
  • Broad activities proposed to be financed from CGF include, inter alia, Activities outlined under the ‘Namami Gange’ programme for cleaning of river Ganga; control of non-point pollution from agricultural runoff, human defecation, cattle wallowing etc.; setting up of waste treatment and disposal plants along the river around the cities; conservation of the biotic diversity of the river; community based activities to reduce polluting human interface with the river and many more.
  • CGF will be subject to such audit as required by law as well as audit by any agency determined by Government. CGF would be administered by a Trust to be chaired by Finance Minister and upto 8 members from different fields.

Why initiatives could not be successful?

  • There were inordinate delays in land acquisition for major schemes of sewage treatment and pumping stations. The ministry has been taking up these matters at appropriate levels in the State Government on a regular basis. All these problems have since been resolved.
  • The schemes of some of the sewage treatment plants had to be tendered several times. There were contractual problems also.
  • In Bihar, O&M has been grossly inadequate. The State Government has neither been able to provide funds nor the required power on a continuous basis for O&M of assets like STPs, pumping stations, crematoria etc. Thus, the operation of nearly all the assets has practically come to a halt.
  • O&M of conveying sewers and intermediate pumping stations has been grossly neglected in UP. As a result, despite the facilities being available, raw sewage is still finding its way into the river at several places.
  • Erratic and poor availability of power for operating the pumping stations, STPs and crematoria is a major bottleneck in UP. Although, for such installations dedicated power supply had been provided for, this has not been adhered to by UPSEB. As a result, in the event of power failures, raw sewage finds its way into the river and the treatment plants are adversely affected.
  • O&M of facilities like toilets and bathing ghats has been neglected in general by the local bodies. Local bodies have also failed in discharging other civic functions in GAP towns.
  • The present methods available to treat the microbial pollution are either hazardous to human health or cost intensive. Research projects have been commissioned to develop indigenous and appropriate cost effective technology.
  • However, disposal of treated/untreated sewage only partly contributes towards the microbial pollution of the river. A large amount of this pollution is contributed by such activities as open defecation, cattle wallowing, mass bathing, garbage and carcass dumping. Such sources of pollution are difficult to tackle.
  • The acceptance of electric crematoria has been slow in UP and Bihar. Due to non-availability of power and funds, these facilities are virtually defunct in UP and Bihar.
Question:

Pollution in river Ganga has been major problem for several states. what are the reasons of pollution? and provide critical account of government initiatives.

Leave a Reply

Testimonials