15,301 wetlands encroached in UP, Its highest in the country

The encroachment of waterbodies in India is a significant concern as it has far-reaching environmental, social, and economic implications. According to recent reports, over 30,000 waterbodies have been encroached upon in the country, with the state of Uttar Pradesh accounting for the highest number at 15,301.

In Lucknow’s urban areas, waterbodies are being polluted with untreated sewage water and have become dumping grounds for solid waste, sludge, and construction waste.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) reports that more than 60% of the sewage produced by urban India is discharged untreated into water bodies, causing significant environmental damage. Even a minor rainfall can wreak havoc and bring cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Gurugram to a halt.

ENCROACHMENT OF WATERBODIES IN INDIA

States encroached waterbodies
Uttar Pradesh 15,301
Tamil Nadu8,366
Andhra Pradesh3,920
Punjab1,578
Odisha1,048
Karnataka948
Bihar871
Jharkhand560
Madhya Pradesh423
Source: Lok Sabha unstarred question number 3,101, August 4, 2022

India, with only 2% of the global land mass, possesses 4% of the world’s freshwater resources, yielding an annual utilisable water resource of 1,126 billion cubic meters (bcm). Out of this, 257.18 bcm accounts for the live storage capacity of reservoirs.

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Over the last few decades, several issues have affected urban water bodies, causing a decline in their quality and quantity. As the population grows, economic activities expand, unplanned urbanisation accelerates, and reckless construction continues, there is an ever-increasing demand for water in different sectors.

However, since the sources of water are finite, this increase in demand has become a cause for concern.

Waterbodies are a direct reflection of the surrounding catchment areas. However, due to increased human intervention and interference in these areas, these waterbodies are facing destruction.

Poor solid-waste management practices, exploitation of floodplains, drainage destruction, sewage disposal, declining groundwater levels, and unplanned tourism activities are all contributing to this problem.

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Moreover, the expansion of surfaces that are impervious to water and concrete structures are overloading drainage and sewerage systems, resulting in local flooding.

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