Question : Identification of Polluted Rivers

(a) whether the Government has formulated any monitoring committee to identify the most polluted rivers other than in Gangetic region across the country;

(b) if so, the details thereof along with the total number of polluted rivers identified by the Government for the last five years;

(c) whether the Government has prepared any action plan for cleaning of those polluted rivers; and

(d) if so, the details thereof and the financial allocation made for the purpose?

Answer given by the minister


(a) & (b) The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)/Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) monitors the water quality of rivers across the country, including Gangetic region, through a network of monitoring stations under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme. As per the report published by CPCB in February 2015, 302 polluted river stretches have been identified on 275 rivers, spread over 28 States and 1 Union Territory, based on Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) levels, a key indicator of organic pollution. The State-wise details of identified polluted river stretches are at Annexure-I. In the latest CPCB report of September 2018, 351 polluted river stretches have been identified on 323 rivers, spread over 29 States and 2 Union Territory, as per details given at Annexure-II.

(c) & (d) Pollution abatement of rivers is a continuous and ongoing process. It is the primary responsibility of the State Governments/ local bodies concerned to set up facilities for collection, transportation and treatment of sewage being generated and ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged into the rivers, thereby polluting them. This Ministry has been supplementing the efforts of the State Governments in abatement of pollution in identified stretches of various rivers under the scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), on a cost sharing basis between the Central and State Governments.

NRCP {excluding Ganga and its tributaries, which are handled by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR) from 01/08/2014 onwards} has so far covered polluted stretches of 33 rivers in 76 towns spread over 15 States in the country at a sanctioned cost of Rs. 4801.57 crore, and Central share of Rs. 2337.73 crore has been released to the State Governments for implementation of various pollution abatement schemes. Sewage treatment capacity of 2520.43 mld (million litres per day) has been created so far under the NRCP.

State Governments, apart from their own budgetary allocation, are also accessing financial assistance for creation of sewerage infrastructure, including Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), in various cities/towns under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities Mission of Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs as well as Namami Gange programme of MoWR,RD&GR.

To ensure proper treatment of municipal wastewater before discharge into the rivers, CPCB has issued directions under Section 18 1(b) of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 in April, 2015 to all the SPCBs)/PCCs in the country for setting up of STPs in their respective States. CPCB has also issued directions in October, 2015 to municipal authorities of 66 metropolitan cities and State capitals under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to ensure proper treatment and disposal of sewage generated for abatement of pollution of rivers.

Further, to control discharge of industrial effluents, CPCB and respective SPCBs/PCCs monitor industries with respect to effluent discharge standards and take action for non-compliance under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. To improve the monitoring of compliance, directions have been issued by CPCB to specific industries to install online 24x7 effluent monitoring systems. Steps have also been taken by CPCB to promote low waste concept in grossly water polluting industries, particularly those located on the river banks.


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