Lake Restoration & River Cleaning

Cleaning/rejuvenation of rivers is an ongoing activity. It is the responsibility of the States/Union Territories (UTs), Local Bodies and Industrial Units to ensure required treatment of sewage and industrial effluents to the prescribed norms before discharging into river and other water bodies, coastal waters or land to prevent and control of pollution therein. For conservation of rivers, the GOI has been supplementing efforts of the States/UTs by providing financial and technical assistance for abatement of pollution in identified stretches of rivers in the country through the Central Sector Scheme of Namami Gange for river Ganga and its tributaries and the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) for rivers in other basins. NRCP has so far covered polluted stretches on 34 rivers in 77 towns spread over 16 States in the country and a sewage treatment capacity of 2677 million litres per day (mld) has been created since its inception. Under the Namami Gange programme launched in June, 2014, a total of 363 projects, including 160 projects for sewage treatment of 5023.98 mld and sewer network of 5227 kms, have been sanctioned at a cost of Rs.30841.53 crore. There are 39 rivers covered under NRCP programme whereas 35 rivers are separately covered in Namami Gange and GAP programme. But this is peanut in reference to the gravity of the problem in the country.

There are 2 clear approaches for NCRP like schemes – Pollution abatement and River rejuvenation. Untreated sewage to be intercepted before entering into river, treated and then allowed to be discharged into river is the simple course of action. Alternately, the polluted river stretch can be taken up and treated online or offline. Treated water can go back to same river and then further adding to dilution.

Setting up of sewage treatment plant (STPs) is one of the important components of pollutions abatement approach. Under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) programme of Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, 889 sewerage & septage management projects amounting to Rs.34205 crore have been taken up. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) 2.0 launched in October, 2021, Rs.15883 crore has been allocated to States/UTs for waste water/used water management, including setting up of STPs and fecal sludge treatment plants (FSTP). River Rejuvenation is a step towards the cleaning of the most sought after natural resource – Water. A major thrust of the plan is to afforest river banks; others include “riverfront development” and installing “eco parks”.
SBT can aid in both the approaches. Firstly, it achieves cleaning of Nallah setting up STP or drawing polluted water from river and after passing through SBT Biofilter abating the polluted stretch of the river. In the rejuvenation side, it can be aided as river front development as well afforestation due to its green aesthetic.