It is affecting these water bodies across the state – whether it is Cauvery, Krishna and Tungabhadra – leaving tens of habitations struggling with highly polluted water or no water at all. On average, Karnataka generates about 3,777 million litres of sewage and a whopping 2,472.84 (65%) of it is being dumped into rivers. That’s about 9.02 lakh million litres of sewage a year.
The condition of rivers across the country is in fact similar. A total of 61,948 million litres of sewage is generated in India every day and 38,671 million litres (62.42%) goes into our rivers. Among the southern states, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh see 94% and 91.38% of the sewage they generate flow into rivers, while the situation is better than Karnataka in Telangana (59%) and Maharashtra (36.6%). Tamil Nadu (68%) is close to Karnataka.
Magsaysay awardee Rajendra Singh, popularly called India’s Waterman says: “There is no foreseeable solution to the problem.” And, he argues that he is not being a cynic. Experts, while blaming industries for most of this pollution, argue that successive governments have been short-sighted in letting factories come up close to rivers.
“The river beds are not protected. The biggest problem we face across the country-and I’m not exempting Karnataka-is that there are no proper inspections and due diligence before granting of permission,” Prof CP Rajendra, a senior scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) says.
Singh further argues that there are either not enough STPs (sewage treatment plants) and that even the ones that exist do not operate. “I am speaking based on my personal visits to rivers across India, including Arkavathi in the outskirts of Bengaluru. The STPs just do no work and unfortunately I do not see a solution to this problem as our democracy is driven by contractors and corporates working for profit and not by the people,” Singh said.
Untreated sewage in many places turning them into sewers, the infamous Arkavathi river is just one example. Separate data accessed from the Central Pollution Control Board shows that at least 15 river stretches are highly polluted, which are part of the 302 polluted stretches on 275 of the 445 rivers it monitors.
Again, the same fate is shared by almost all the states. If Maharashtra has 49 polluted stretches, it is 28 in Assam, 21 in Madhya Pradesh, 20 in Gujarat, 17 in West Bengal, 13 in Kerala, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Manipur, 12 in Odisha, 10 in Meghalaya, nine in Jammu & Kashmir, eight each in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, and seven each in Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
The other states have fewer number of stretches. Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairman Lakshman, however, says: “The board has a clear policy that no industry, or even resorts or homestays for that matter are permitted 500 metres around the river. Besides we also implement the Ministry of Forests and Environment rules barring such activity in the vicinity of 1.5 km.”
He also said that the Board has been actively pursuing polluting industries and acting on them. He could not immediately share the number of notices served as he was on an inspection along the banks of Vrishabhavathi river, checking for such polluting units.
Sewage Flowing Into Rivers:
|State||Sewage Generated*||Treated Sewage*||Untreated Sewage Flowing Into Rivers*|
|All Other States||37671||13926.62||23408.89|
Source: Central Pollution Control Board | * Million Litres Per Day
Source : timesofindia