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Less than 2% Yamuna stretch accounts for 76 % of river's pollution: Committee

Less than 2% Yamuna stretch accounts for 76 % of rivers pollution: Committee

NEW DELHI: A small stretch of less than two per cent of the Yamuna accounts for 76 per cent of the river's pollution, according to a monitoring committee overseeing its cleaning. The committee has further said that the river is "fighting to stay alive" and it would not be possible to rejuvenate the Yamuna unless the minimum environmental flow is provided as it is "virtually reduced to a trickle and remains dry in some stretches for almost nine months of the year".

National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice AK Goel had in July formed the monitoring committee comprising retired expert member BS Sajwan and former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra and directed them to the submit an action plan and detailed report on cleaning of the river by December 31. The committee has submitted the details to the Delhi government.

In the action plan, it is mentioned that "Although the Yamuna river flows only for 54 kilometres from Palla to Badarpur through Delhi, the 22 kilometre stretch from Wazirabad to Okhla, which is less than two per cent of the river length of 1,370 kilometres from Yamunotri to Allahabad, accounts for about 76 per cent of the pollution level in the river". This 2 per cent stretch from Wazirabad to Okhla sees the maximum discharge of untreated industrial and domestic wastes. The committee has suggested that a team of scientists be formed from CPCB, DPCC and other institutions like IIT Delhi or NEERI to carry out inspections and submit reports to it for remedial action.

The team can look into the risks and benefits of an alternative way of routing the same quantity of water which can help in reducing the pollution level, it said. The committee has also recommended a mechanism to be worked out jointly with DPCC and CPCB to install an online system for quality testing of water in the Yamuna at Palla and Wazirabad. "Not only standard parameters would be included but also ammonia because this is brought up as a recurrent problem which impacts drinking water supply to Delhi," it said.

The monitoring committee also raised an objection to the capacity utilisation of common effluent treatment plant (CETP) which is as low as 25 per cent. There are 28 industrial clusters in Delhi and 17 of these are connected to 13 CETPs. The remaining 11 clusters are not connected to any CETP. Another area of concern is the direct discharge of completely unregulated waste from industries and residences into the river. "The industrial pollutants when mixed with domestic sewage are not amenable to treatment even by the STPs due to the limitation of treatment technology," the committee ruled.

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