Home India News A CSE book on how to save the Yamuna

A CSE book on how to save the Yamuna


Agra : Discarding the Yamuna Action Plan's (YPA) initiatives for cleaning up the river by setting up sewage treatment plants, the Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) has come up with possible solutions to the Yamuna's woes, putting it all down in a book released here Sunday.

Named 'Sewage Canal: How to clean the Yamuna', the book discusses reasons that make the river murkier every day, the programmes implemented to solve this problem, its economics, the pitfalls and finally CSE's possible solutions.

"The book discusses some of the problems of the programmes implemented by the YPA. For instance, the initiative to connect households to the sewerage system carrying refuge to the treatment plant failed. But surprisingly, the planners are not willing to learn from their mistakes," Suresh Babu, deputy coordinator, river pollution unit of CSE told IANS.

Based on a three-year study, Babu added that YAP's programmes have also been very expensive.

"More than Rs 1.02 billion has been spent in Agra and Mathura alone under the YAP. Interception and diversion schemes, sewage treatment plants and toilet complexes were all built under YAP and other state sponsored schemes," he lamented.

"Yet the Yamuna slithers on, dirtier than ever before. Both Agra and Mathura are prepared to pump in billions of rupees under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. More money is being allocated under YAP II. But the strategy remains unchanged," he said.

YAP was launched in April 1993 by the National River Conservation Directorate in 12 towns of Haryana and eight of Uttar Pradesh, besides Delhi.

The book points out that there is no data of sewage generation for any of the places, except Delhi. Even the Delhi figure falls far short of the actual amount.

Of the estimated 3268 million litres a day (MLD) of domestic sewage generated in the national capital, 1582 MLD is discharged untreated into the river.

Mathura, according to CSE, has a treatment capacity of 28 MLD but the waste generated by the town is 49.5 MLD.

Offering a solution, the book says there ought to be a paradigm shift in the way the system works. While there are laws governing water supply, there are few provisions for sewage treatment in Delhi or any other place through which the Yamuna flows.

"For instance, unauthorised colonies don't have a sewerage system because they are illegal but they get water supply. So it must be ensured that the sewage system must match the water connections," Babu said.

To ease this, CSE suggests there should be a coordinated effort of the large centralised and de-centralised sewerage plants.

People, they said, should be given incentives in the form of rebates on their water bills or property tax to treat and re-use their waste.