Home / Politics / Policy /  1,300 km of pipes laid to clean Ganga

NEW DELHI : The nodal body responsible for cleaning the Ganga completed most of its plan to lay down nearly 1,400 km of sewage pipes across six states to stop millions of litres of raw household sewage from being dumped into the river every day.

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) announced 43 projects totalling 7,944 crore for sewage management across six states —Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal—to be completed by December 2022.

Together, these projects will treat 2,097.6 million litres per day (MLD) of raw sewage.

27 of these 43 projects, with a sanctioned cost of 4,281 crore, have been completed in the last six months, with a total capacity of treating 790 MLD (million litres per day) of sewage, transported by 1,302.9 km of pipes.

These projects will treat polluted sewage water before it is disposed of in the Ganga.

“NMCG has identified the multiple polluted stretches of Ganga and worked extensively on them to bring them under category V," said Ashok Kumar, DG of NMCG.

The stretch between Kannauj to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh which stood at category III in terms of pollution has been brought to category V (from low pollution to unpolluted category). Similarly, the stretch between Buxar to Bhagalpur in Bihar transitioned from category II to unpolluted.

To be sure, these projects are entirely focussed on household waste. A substantial chunk of river water pollution comes from effluents released by industrial units such as tanneries, distilleries, paper and pulp units. Kumar said effluent treatment plants are being set up in such units and NMCG conducts period inspections ensure these units are adhering to norms.

The treated water can also be used as a substitute for agricultural activities, serving the twin purpose of earning from the treated water and drawing less water from the river.

This is also beneficial from the point of view of urban local bodies which too can earn from selling the treated water and use it for maintenance of plants, ensuring sustainability.

“The aim is to generate wealth from waste," Kumar added.

NMCG has also launched a flagship programme ‘Arth Ganga’ to showcase local products and crafts, promote organic farming in the Ganga basin and generate employment.

“Arth Ganga is a programme launched for public participation and building economics as a bridge to connect people with Ganga," said Kumar.

The project focuses on zero budget farming and monetization of treated wastewater and sludge. Chemical-free zero budget natural farming will be done along the length of the river.

“We are using the government’s Gobardhan Scheme. Gobar (dung) is used by farmers at low cost and reduces pollution in the river by producing coliform. This will help double farmers’ income and generate ‘more income per drop’," Kumar added.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Swati Luthra

Swati Luthra writes on climate change, water, environment and forest issues for Mint. A graduate in Psychology, Swati has been mapping India’s policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at CoP-26 including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
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