New Delhi: West Bengal treats only 49 per cent of the wastewater before dumping it in the Ganga, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said while directing the state government to submit a quarterly report on the issue of solid waste management. The green panel noted that about 90 per cent of municipal solid waste generated in West Bengal is being dumped in the open every day in violation of statutory pollution laws.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also noted that the state generates 1,311 million litres a day (MLD) of wastewater and while 34 sewage treatment plants (STPs) have a total installed capacity of 457 MLD, their actual utilisation is only 214 MLD, which is only 49 per cent.
The tribunal directed the state government to notify at least three major cities, towns and panchayats as “model cities/towns/villages” in every district within two weeks. The bench said,
The remaining cities, towns and village panchayats in the state may be made fully compliant in respect of environmental norms within one year.
It also directed that performance audit of all regulatory bodies must be conducted and remedial measures should be taken, within six months. During the hearing, state chief secretary Malay Kumar Dey told the tribunal that it was found that out of the 341 blocks in West Bengal, the groundwater in 81 blocks was contaminated with arsenic and in 49 blocks with fluoride.
The tribunal was informed that large tractors, diggers, and trucks can be seen lined along many of the rivers in West Bengal. Indiscriminate sand mining has a devastating effect on the environment. The NGT noted,
About 90 per cent of the municipal solid waste generated in Bengal every day is dumped in the open in violation of statutory pollution laws, raising the stink of alleged collusion with recycling rackets that have found a fortune in rubbish.
The tribunal was hearing a petition seeking compliance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.