70% towns along Ganga dump garbage into the river: Study

Khaleej Times - - PAKISTAN - Staff Re­port The Hindu

new delhi — Sixty-six cities and towns along the River Ganga have drains that flow di­rectly to the river, even after four-and-a-half years of the launch of Cen­tre’s flagship Na­mami Gange pro­gramme to clean up the river, ac­cord­ing to a gov­ern­ment-com­mis­sioned study, pub­lished by

news­pa­per on Sun­day. Al­most 85 per cent of these drains do not even have screens set up to stop garbage from en­ter­ing the Ganga.

Seventy-two towns out of the 92 sur­veyed, still have old or legacy dump sites on the ghats. Only 19 of them have a mu­nic­i­pal solid waste plant, ac­cord­ing to the as­sess­ment done by the Qual­ity Coun­cil of In­dia (QCI).

The third party sur­vey was com­mis­sioned by the Min­istry of Urban De­vel­op­ment (MoUD). The study, con­ducted over a six-week pe­riod in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber last year, cov­ered 92 of the 97 towns along the river lo­cated in five States: Ut­tarak­hand, Ut­tar Pradesh, Bi­har, Jhark­hand and West Ben­gal. Of the re­main­ing five towns, three had no ghats along the river, while two were shut be­cause of extreme weather con­di­tions dur­ing the pe­riod of the as­sess­ment.

In West Ben­gal, of the 242 drains that flow di­rectly into the Ganga, only 37 had set up screens, some of which are al­ready choked with garbage. Of the 205 drains that al­low

solid waste to flow into the river with­out any screens, 100 are in West Ben­gal towns. In­ter­est­ingly, only two drains in that state had any screens at all, the as­sess­ment

found. An­other state, Bi­har, also fared poorly, with none of the 30 drains in the state hav­ing any screens. As the main fo­cus of the Na­mami Gange over the last four years has been on liq­uid waste man­age­ment and sewage treatment plants, the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment is now fo­cus­ing on solid waste man­age­ment as well, un­der the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mis­sion (Urban).

How­ever, less than half the towns along the Ganga par­tic­i­pated in a work­shop held last week on this is­sue. Among them, West Ben­gal, which has 39 of the towns lo­cated along the river — had the small­est pres­ence, with less than five of­fi­cials at­tend­ing the event, The Hindu said.

The QCI sur­vey ranked the towns on four pa­ram­e­ters: over­all clean­li­ness, which in­volved the dump sites and garbage vul­ner­a­ble points present near the ghats, as well as the pres­ence of solid waste float­ing on the river’s sur­face; the pres­ence of a mu­nic­i­pal solid waste plant; the in­stal­la­tion and main­te­nance of screens placed over drains; and solid waste man­age­ment ser­vices, such as sweep­ing and clean­ing ar­range­ments, lit­ter bins and anti-lit­ter­ing signs and a trash cleaner to trap solid waste float­ing on the river.

In­ter­est­ingly, most of the 12 towns that got an ‘A’ grade have pop­u­la­tions of less than 100,000 people. Most were lo­cated in the up­stream states of Ut­tarak­hand and Ut­tar Pradesh, the news­pa­per said. A no­table ex­cep­tion was the West Ben­gal town of Ma­hesh­tala, with a pop­u­la­tion of 450,000. Big cities such as Kolkata, Varanasi, Kan­pur and Patna got low scores.

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