Hope shines for a cleaner Ganga before Mahakumbh

The Sangam city can hope for a cleaner Ganga and Yamuna from December. The three specially constituted teams of Uttar Pradesh Polution Control Board (UPPCB) will monitor the water quality of the Ganga, Yamuna and Pandu.

The monitoring will be done on weekly and daily basis and for the purpose the Board has identified 13 spots in Allahabad, Kaushambi and Fatehpur.

Apart from the construction of four new Sewage Treatment plant (STPs), expected to be functional by November this year, and treating the untreated sewage/polluted water before flowing into the Ganga and Yamuna, UPPCB will start the monitoring exercise from December first week.

Regional officer, UPPCB, Mohd Sikandar told TOI: "At Allahabad, daily monitoring will be done at five spots and other two spots would be taken on weekly basis. Besides, weekly monitoring would be done at two spots at Kaushamni and four spots at Fatehpur."

Sikandar added that the aim is to ensure clean water for the pilgrims during the Mahakumbh, and that's why the work will be completed before the start of mega event early next year.

Currently, the city has two functional STPs at Naini and Salori with total capacity of 109 million litres per day (MLD) as against the discharge of 232 MLD. As a result, a large quantity of untreated sewage water/municipal waste of the city is discharged into the Ganga and Yamuna, directly and indirectly.

Officials of the Ganga Pollution Control Unit said the capacity of Naini STP has been increased up to 80 MLD against 60 MLD. The four new STPs are coming up at Kodra (with capacity of 25MLD), Numhayadahi (50 MLD), Poghat (10 MLD) and Rajapur (60 MLD). Besides, Salori STP has a capacity of 29 MLD.

Sikandar said UPPCB is coordinating with the officials of the Ganga Pollution Control Unit. UPPCB has also identified 600 units which are polluting the rivers and asked them to either set up STPs or their units would be shut down during Mahakumbh.

Units have been told they would not be allowed to run between November and February if they fail to install STPs.

As per estimates, around 800 MLD of untreated sewage is directly discharged into the Ganga from at least 26 cities on the state located on the river banks. And, if the measures are not initiated, this figure may double by 2025.

The capacity of existing sewage treatment plants (STP) across the state is around 385 MLD and more STPs are required to check the situation. The Union government too had released funds last year to make the Ganga pollution-free.

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