Published: May 23, 2020 8:22:16 pm
Taking note of reports that water quality in Ganga and Yamuna has improved during the coronavirus lockdown, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to study and analyse the extent of reduction of industrial and sewage pollution load on the environment, including on rivers and other water bodies.
Asking for a detailed report on the issue, the green panel directed that once industrial and other activities resume, it should be ensured that all the environment laws are complied with.
The NGT also directed all the states and union territories (UTs) to ensure 100 per cent treatment of sewage entering water bodies and ensure action against violators.
“During the lockdown period there are reports that the water quality of river has improved, the reasons for the same may be got studied and analysed by the CPCB and report submitted to the tribunal. If the activities reopen, the compliance to standards must be maintained by ensuring full compliance of law by authorities statutorily responsible for the same”, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
According to reports, the water quality of Ganga and Yamuna has improved significantly in the areas with reduced industrial activities.There has been an increase in dissolved oxygen content and reduction in nitrate concentration in Ganga during the lockdown, they said.
The green panel asked all the states and UTs to ensure the formulation and execution of plans for sewage treatment and utilisation of treated sewage effluent through their departments.
The bench said the plans for sewage treatment and utilization should strictly adhere to a timeline.
It also asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to continue its efforts on the compilation of River Basin-wise data. “Action plans be firmed up with Budgets/Financial tie-up. Such plans be overseen by Chief Secretary and forwarded to CPCB before June 30.”
“CPCB may consolidate all action plans and file a report accordingly. Ministry of Jal Shakti and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs may facilitate States/UTs for ensuring that water quality of rivers, lakes, water bodies and groundwater is maintained”, the bench said.
It directed all the states, which have not addressed all the action points with regard to the utilisation of sewage treated water, to do the exercise before June 30.
The CPCB may furnish its report by September 15 giving the status of furnishing of action plans and their execution as on August 31 by e-mail, the NGT said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti and others relating to the establishment and functioning of sewage treatment plants and to take action against local bodies for failing to install STPs and discharging sewage without treatment.
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