Tribune News Service
Shimla, January 9
The River Rejuvenation Committee (RRC) will reduce pollution in seven rivers, the Ashwani Khud, Pabbar, Beas, Giri and the Sukhna, Markandey and Sirsa in the industrial corridor of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN). The committee will use drones to study the polluted stretches of the rivers.
Sewage and effluent treatment plants, bio-diversity parks and flood plain zones will be set up as per action plan that the pollution control board is likely to submit to the NGT by January 31.
The green court has pulled up the state pollution board, Shimla Municipal Corporation, IPH Department, Urban Development and Town and Country Planning departments and other stakeholders of the BBN industrial belt.
The NGT expressed concern as the Beas supplies water to Kullu and Mandi, the Giri and Ashwani supply water to Shimla and Solan while the Pabbar supplies water to Rohru, Hatkoti and Saraswati Nagar and other schemes.
But untreated sewage, garbage and other waste from these towns ended up in these rivers in the absence of STPs and ETPs. As a result, the effluents had increased the BOD level in the rivers, killing fish, observed environmental engineers.
The NGT directed them to put the result-oriented action plan in place to rejuvenate the rivers.
A preliminary study of the Ashwani Khud by a team of environment engineers revealed that water samples of the river had recorded a higher level of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD). Reason: Untreated sewage from the Maliana treatment plant and other nullahs used to flow in the khud.
The BOD level is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms to break down organic material present in water sample at certain temperature over a specific time period, explained the bio-engineer.
The BOD level in the Beas, Giri, Pabbar, Markandey, Sukhna, Sirsa is higher than the permissible level, revealed the engineers. But they need deeper study to know the exact dimension of pollution in these rivers, they added.
It was increasing further because garbage, untreated sewage, plastic and other material ended up in the rivers which had now come under the NGT scanner. “Now polluters - civic bodies and the IPH Department- have to stand in court to explain”, they said.
The NGT has pulled up the civic bodies of Shimla, Solan, Rohru, Jubbal-Kotkhai, Theog, the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh authorities and the IPH Department and pollution control board which have failed to control pollution in the rivers.
Member secretary, state pollution control, Dr RK Purthi said the RRC had been notified, the sources of pollution were being identified using drone and other methods. The civic bodies would manage solid waste and all industries would set up sewage treatment plants and central effluent treatment plants that will treat industrial effluent for re-use or safe disposable, he added.
The IPH Department was taking groundwater sampling, while flood plains and biodiversity parks would be set up in the affected areas. “We are preparing an inventory to restore water quality of the rivers,” Dr Pruthi said.
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The BJP leader shared the information on his Twitter handle