EnvironmentIndia

Delhi's Common-Property Sewer called Yamuna!!

just read this and you will understand the mockery of the situation that is India!

Almost 40-50% of Delhi’s sewage is drained into Yamuna UNTREATED!!

While Delhi creates – by a rough.. unknown.. and uneducated guess – somewhere over 2900 million litres of sewage a day… Capacity Utilization for Narela and Ghittorni plants are either ZERO or close to zero!! The result is that Yamuna is used as a dump and it has become THE city’s sewage!! Only under half of Delhi’s sewage gets treated!

Honestly, the urban sewage system during Harrappa was better than today’s Delhi.. and that was 5000 YEARS BACK!! I wonder when we Delhi-ites will look beyond our drawing rooms to realize that we are putting the stomachs and, indeed, lives of our kids and grand-kids in CRITICAL DANGER!!

Over Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) has flown into the sewage canal the river Yamuna has become since the government began its efforts to clean it up in 1985 – Delhi’s allocation of the Yamuna Action Plan is around Rs 573 crore (Rs 5.73 billion) and the state spent another Rs 1,200-1,500 crore (Rs 12-15 billion) on its sewage treatment plants since 1993.

Yet, the Bio Oxygen Demand, or BOD levels, in the river have gone up, not just steadily, but alarmingly. In 1993, these were measured at around 130 tonnes a day, this more than doubled to 276 tonnes a day in 2004 and, in February last year, the level was measured at 428 tonnes – this is nearly 50 times the safe standard for bathing.

To put things in perspective, the river Yamuna accounts for over a fourth of the central allocation for all river cleaning up programmes across the country; and Delhi, while accounting for around 5 per cent of the country’s urban population accounts for around 40 per cent of its sewage treatment capacity.

If, despite this, things are getting worse by the day, is it time to wind up, or at least seriously rethink river cleaning programmes such as the Yamuna Action Plan? The answer’s obviously yes, but what should a new plan incorporate is the question. Examining the situation in just Delhi offers some pointers, to both the problems as well as the solutions.

The biggest flaw in the system design is that, to begin with, there is no accurate estimate of just how much sewage Delhi creates. The Delhi Jal Board estimates this at 2,900 million litres a day, primarily based on the amount of water it supplies. The Central Pollution Control Board, which measures the outflows at Delhi’s drains, put this at 3,684 million litres a day.

Since the sewage generated is related to the amount of water supplied, according to the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, this means around half of Delhi’s water is met from ground water (that has other implications in terms of the capital’s water security).

So, if the initial problem is that the agency in charge of sewage treatment system doesn’t know how much sewage requires treatment, this gets compounded by the fact that the system design is flawed.

In places like Narela and Ghittorni, according to the CSE, the sewage treatment plants barely get any sewage to treat – the capacity utilisation figure is zero for Ghittorni, 1.3 per cent for Rohini, 10 per cent for Najafgarh and 12.5 per cent for Nilothi. It doesn’t help that around 40-50 per cent of Delhi lives in unsewered areas, that is, their sewage goes directly to the Yamuna.

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Also read:  Gujarat is the best state for Economic Freedom

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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