Pollution levels and state of drains to be studied

Hearing two petitions relating to dumping of waste and debris into the Yamuna and encroachments on storm water drains (SWDs), the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday considered the technical advice submitted by the Civil Engineering Department of IIT-Delhi and set up two committees to look into the issues and submit a report by July 17.

“This issue has been divided into three parts. The first is related to drain (natural or artificial) coverage and the pollution from this, second is related to steps required to be taken for ensuring and rendering Yamuna free from pollution, and thirdly, restoration and beautification of the banks of river Yamuna,” said the tribunal in its order setting up the two committees.

The first committee has been asked to inspect places they consider crucial for data on the number of drains — artificial and natural — in Delhi.

The committee has been asked to study drains that join the river directly or indirectly, as well as gather data on the number of storm water drains and those that carry sewage.

According to the tribunal’s order, the committee will also collect and submit information on the status of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) — how many have been established in Delhi, their working, where new STPs are needed and whether it is possible to restore existing STPs to their optimum capacity.

No consolidated data

At present no consolidated data exists on Storm Water Drains (SWDs), though there are multiple agencies — the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Delhi Development Authority and the Public Works Department — tasked with maintaining SWDs.

“The banks of the river Yamuna should be left free, it should be ensured that no waste, construction debris, or any other material is thrown into the river banks,” read the order.

The NGT was hearing a 2012 application by Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan related to dumping of solid waste and construction debris into the Yamuna along with a 2013 application by the Abhiyaan challenging the covering of the city’s storm water drains by government bodies in particular. After the tribunal’s order on May 27, A.K. Gosain of the Department of Civil Engineering IIT-Delhi had submitted a report on various factors that add to the pollution of the river.

“We welcome that the tribunal has clubbed the two applications and passed an order which is holistic,” said Mr. Mishra.

The second committee has been asked to oversee the first committee and hold a meeting within two weeks to ensure compliance and to consider what changes may be made to the existing schemes. The next hearing is on July 17.