The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) for its inability to prevent drains in Kanpur from polluting the Ganga.
Some of these drains were carrying industrial effluents and had been tapped under cleaning works under the Namami Ganga Programme .
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The CPCB and the UPPCB had been jointly monitoring 24 drains — two in Unnao and 22 in Kanpur — since March 2019. Drains that revealed “high colour” from chemical effluents or Biochemical Oxygen Demand and Dissolved Oxygen (BODDO) — an indicator of microbial presence and barometers to gauge the health of water bodies — were to be cleaned and errant municipal bodies or industrial units were to be fined or face the prospect of having their units shut down.
Over a thousand ‘Grossly Polluting Industries’ including sugarcane, pulp and paper and tanneries, and slaughter houses had been marked out and monitored for effluent load and whether they were discharging waste into the river.
Four drains — Sheetla Bazaar, Budhiya Ghat, Wazidpur and Ratanpur drain — were identified by the CPCB as continuing to contain high pollutant load. The Sheetla Bazaar, Budhiya Ghat and Wazidpur drains were tapped and weren’t supposed to be effusing toxins.
“During the inspection, tapping arrangement was found to be ineffective and overflow was observed reaching directly to the Ganga,” the CPCB said in its inspection note of February 21. “High total chrome [content] was observed in the wastewater of the drain....indicates discharge of untreated, chrome-bearing wastewater from tannery units located in Jajmau area of Kanpur.”
The CPCPB has ordered the UPPCB to “expedite surveillance” of tanneries responsible for the discharge.
Kanpur contributes the highest pollution load among all of the cities of Uttar Pradesh, which itself accounts for 75% of the pollution load in the Ganga. Consequently, Kanpur has been allotted about ₹1,000 crore — more than any other city — from the ₹20,000 crore-plus Namami Gange Programme, the government’s flagship programme to clean the river.