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