Why is Yamuna still so unclean, asks Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought an explanation from the Centre, the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments regarding the Yamuna continuing to be highly polluted despite around Rs. 4,400 crore having been spent over the last 18 years towards cleaning the river.

Hearing a petition, the Bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and Madan B. Lokur expressed concern over the enormous spending: “All the agencies have spent crores of rupees. What is the purpose? What work has been done ultimately?” The Bench noted that despite there being as many as 18 sewage treatment plants to treat the effluents, the treated water had “a high rate of pollution”.

The Bench said ways should be found to prevent the discharging of untreated water directly into the river. It appointed a committee to go into all issues and directed it to submit a report in two weeks. It directed the Centre to specify what action the Yamuna Development Authority had taken so far to cleanse the Yamuna under the Yamuna Action Plan. It asked the Central Pollution Control Board to submit a report on the efficacy of the existing treatment plants and sought solutions.

The court’s October 10 order said: “It has been brought to the notice of this court that despite heavy expenditure, [running into] thousands of crores [of rupees], having been incurred by the Central government, the States of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and the local authorities in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, the pollution of river Yamuna has increased by the day. A report has been filed on behalf of the Central Pollution Control Board, wherein it has been reflected that the samples collected from river Yamuna show flagrant violation of the prescribed standards.

“Yamuna should be converted into a wholesome and clean Yamuna and its water in the entire region, i.e., from Hathini Kund in Haryana to the Monitoring Station at Taj Mahal, Agra, has to be pollution-free. The statistics on record show that this object is much far form being achieved.” The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on November 9.

Supreme Court seeks explanation from Centre, UP, Haryana, Delhi governments

‘In spite of as many as 18 sewage treatment plants, a high rate of pollution persists’

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