Significant volumes of the untreated sewage waste gets discharged directly into rivers and water bodies

One-third of the sewage treatment capacity created under one of the key river cleaning funds of the Environment Ministry is going unused, a new report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has said.

152 sewage treatment plants (STPs) in 15 states set up using funds of the National River Conservation Programme, add up to a capacity of 4,716 million litres per day (MLD). But, the study has found that only 3,126 MLD of sewage is being treated in these plants.

Of the 152 STPs, nine are still under construction and 30 are not working at all. The CPCB team found that 28 of those surveyed were not working to satisfaction with levels of pollution of treated water above acceptable levels.

The panel has reported that Tamil Nadu is the worst performing State. Out of the 798.84 MLD capacity of sewage treatment created under the programme, only 394 MLD is being utilised. West Bengal too fared badly with the State being able to treat only 222.5 MLD sewage though the capacity was set up for 458.29 MLD.

The CPCB report has only covered the sewage systems the Environment Ministry has funded across the country. The total sewage capacity in tier I cities in the country, set up through different resources, adds up to 11,553.68 MLD, which even if used optimally, caters to less than one-third of the waste generated every day. The total sewage generated in these cities is 35,558.12 MLD.

In tier II towns, out of the 2,696 MLD of waste generated, only 233 MLD can be treated if the sewage treatment plants work at full capacity.

Significant volumes of the untreated sewage waste gets discharged directly into rivers and water bodies, ending up polluting these water sources to various degrees.

The spread of sewage treatment facilities across the metropolitans is also skewed in favour of two cities — Delhi and Mumbai. Of the entire sewage generation capacity set up in the country more than half is to cater to only these two metropolitans. Delhi is home to 29% of the total treatment capacity of 8,040 MLD in metropolitan cities. Mumbai has the second highest capacity at 2,130 MLD.

More In: National | News