The National Green Court (NGT) on April 11, 2023, expressed concern about the management of sewage in the city of Agra. The court noted that instead of using treated sewage, it was still being discharged into the Yamuna River.
No STPs installed since 2014
The NGT noted that it appeared that no Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) had been installed since 2014, and reports from the authorities indicated that there were major gaps and deficiencies in wastewater generation and management in Agra.
NGT directed the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh to take the necessary steps in coordination with other competent authorities in the state. A special meeting of the concerned officials should be convened within a month to review whether the nine existing STPs in Agra are fully utilized and up to standard.
The court emphasized that the treated water must be used for other purposes, and partially open drains must be closed and diverted to STP.
The NGT also ordered the authorities to submit a report on the measures taken within four months. In addition, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has been instructed to submit a report related to chlorination, fertilizer irrigation, STP performance and on-site projects in Agra.
The NGT has said that out of 91 drains in Agra, 21 drains with a flow of 58.25 MLD are being harnessed, while eight drains are partially harnessed. While 61 drains with a capacity of 16.93 MLD are not being exploited and are being dumped into the Yamuna like this. While 286 MLD is discharged into sewage drains, only 58.25 MLD is utilised.
Significantly, the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, in its report released on February 24, 2023, had accepted that 131 MLD sewage was being released into the Yamuna river without treatment. At the same time, the CPCB had also accepted the failure of the authorities to take necessary action in this matter.
NGT demands urgent sewage management
National Green Tribunal also has called for urgent measures to address the mismanagement of wastewater in Mathura and Agra, two major heritage cities. The NGT ordered high-level officers to take action, citing the allocation of significant funds without adequate results on the ground.
According to a report submitted to the NGT, Mathura has three untapped or partially open drains, while two of the 13 drains in Vrindavan are still untapped and do not have an intercept schedule.
The NGT highlighted that contaminated water is being discharged into rivers intended to transport drinking water. He called for the separation of sewage channels from other effluent channels and the use of treated water for non-contact purposes such as agriculture, horticulture and industries. The NGT also suggested exploring the possibility of supplying treated water to the Mathura refinery.
The NGT also noted that in Agra, of the 286 million liters per day (MLD) of sewage flowing into the drains, only 58.25 MLD was removed and no information was provided on the sewage in the sewerage network.
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