Is it possible to intercept sewage discharge into Ganga: NGT

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday asked various stakeholders if it is possible to intercept all the drains which discharge grossly polluting sewage in the river Ganga, and if not, what other solution is there.

A total of 86 drains pollute the river by discharging effluents into it and its tributaries between Uttarakhand’s Haridwar and Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur.

The tribunal ordered the stakeholders, which includes Union Water Resource and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry, the Uttar Pradesh government and both central and state agencies to tell as of how many drains meeting the Ganga and its tributaries will be diverted and the number of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) required to treat the effluent being discharged.

The NGT, posing several questions, also asked the if the plan to intercept all the drains is even possible at the first place and if not, then what is the solution.

According to a report published last year by Central Pollution Control Board, over 800 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage coming from over 1,000 Seriously Polluting Industries (SPI) is poured into Ganga between Haridwar and Kanpur.

“Out of total 86 drains… which of the drain require interception and their effluent to be pumped to another drains… How many STPs are required and are operational…are those enough… if not then what is the solution,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the stakeholders.

Out of 86, about 30 storm drains flow directly into the river.

The orders came a day after the Supreme Court transferred the 32-year old plea on cleaning the river Ganga to the Tribunal.

The NGT which is already hearing the matter partially, on Wednesday it said that from February 6 (next hearing) onwards, it will hear the case on day to day basis.

In a hearing earlier this month, NGT asked the stakeholders including Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and Jal Nigam whether the STPs existing in the Segment B of Phase 1 (Haridwar to Unnao), are capable of treating effluents.

On Wednesday, the Tribunal also asked if it would be advisable to direct new construction of STP and Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs).

It asked the stakeholder to submit details on the issues till next hearing and asked the senior officials to be present on the next date of hearing.

The Tribunal several times lamented the the stakeholders for the lack of information and planning. In October, 2016 NGT was told by the stakeholder that they don’t even know as of how many drains are polluting the river.

There are over 35 distilleries, 442 tanneries, 63 textile mills, 67 pulp and paper plants, and 28 chemical industries along the river stretch between Haridwar to Kanpur.