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Gujarat sewage treatment plants sources of river pollution: Govt 'not serious'

Rohit Prajapati
By Our Representative
The Vadodara-based environmental NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) in a letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, with copy to the official's counterparts in Gujarat, has said that the sewage treatment plants (STPs) across Gujarat are a "prime source of pollution" of the state's rivers, and the authorities are not serious about remedying the situation.
Pointing out that the Supreme Court Order, dated February 22, 2017, in Writ Petition (Civil) No 375 of 2012 (Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti & Anrs V/s Union of India & Ors), is not being complied with, the letter says, it had drawn the attention to the authorities about it on December 5, 2018, and December 28, 2018, detailing "nonfunctioning of the existing STPs and dumping of untreated sewage into the rivers and other water bodies of Gujarat."
Asserting that "there was no response at all from concerned authorities", the letter says, "The only response, which we received, was from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi office", following which "a special meeting was held on January 14, 2019 to discuss in detail about non-functional STPs, new STPs treatment methods".
As per the available statistics, 70% of the sewage generated in urban India is not treated to acceptable standards
"We presented alternative methods of sewage treatment in the meeting. The chairman of CPCB and concerned official agreed to visit Gujarat to see some of places where we tried to demonstrate the alternative methods of sewage treatments", said the letter, signed by PSS' Rohit Prajapati and Krishankant, regretting, though, "Unfortunately, due to some reasons, the visit did not materialize."
This has happened despite the fact that, said the letter, "As per the available statistics, 70% of the sewage generated in urban India is not treated to acceptable standards. Moreover, there is a 78.7% gap between sewage generation and installed sewage treatment capacity. Even with additional 1742.6 MLD sewage treatment capacity that is under planning or construction stage, there will be a gap equal to 72.7 % in sewage treatment capacity India’s towns and cities."
It adds, this shows that Indian towns, cities, and villages, like those in Gujarat, will "continue to pollute their own and nearest possible rivers, ponds, groundwater, and such by directly dumping untreated sewage, sullage, all kinds of other effluents, and even debris. The conditions of these water sources and other related resources are worsening over the years."

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