Lower Ganga in West Bengal
Lower Ganga in West Bengal

West Bengal needs wastewater treatment and reuse policy to save rivers: Experts

A recent report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimates that urban areas in West Bengal generate 5,457 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage, but the installed treatment capacity is only 16%, resulting in untreated wastewater being discharged into rivers and other water bodies. Nitin Bassi, Programme Lead at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) suggested that adopting a comprehensive state-level wastewater treatment and reuse policy can help plug this gap and improve river health.

He added that the state-level policy should define both discharge and reuse-specific treated wastewater quality standards, following the guidelines of the National Framework on Safe Reuse of Treated Water.

According to CEEW analysis, urban centres in India will generate about 44,000 MCM of domestic wastewater by 2050, making substantial investments in wastewater treatment necessary for rejuvenating India's polluted rivers. To this end, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMGG) has taken steps towards cleaning Ganga, and this approach should be replicated for other polluted river stretches in India, Bassi said.

The 48th meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was held recently, where eight projects worth approximately Rs 638 crore were approved. Four projects worth Rs 407.39 crore were approved for pollution abatement in the Shamli district as part of the comprehensive Hindon Rejuvenation Plan. These projects are aimed at preventing the flow of polluted water into Krishni River, a major tributary of Hindon. The four projects include the construction of sewage treatment plants, septage co-treatment facilities, interception and diversion (I&D) works, and other infrastructure in various towns and villages in the district.

Additionally, one project for the development of seven ghats in Prayagraj was approved as part of preparations for the Mahakumbh in Uttar Pradesh in 2025. Two more sewerage management projects were approved, one each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The Bihar project includes the construction of three sewage treatment plants among other works, while the Madhya Pradesh project includes the construction of a sewage treatment plant and common effluent treatment plant, among other infrastructure.

During the meeting, G. Asok Kumar, DG, NMCG, urged officials to promote the use of solar power on STP sites and separate and dispose of solid waste from drains flowing into rivers. He also emphasized that it is the responsibility of state governments to maintain assets created under the Namami Gange Programme and urged them to communicate the standard operating procedures being adopted by the urban local bodies (ULBs) for cleaning existing ghats to the NMCG.

Finally, a project for ghat development was approved for Haridwar, Uttarakhand, where Akhand Param Dham ghat will be constructed at a cost of Rs. 2.12 crore.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: The Times of India

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