Not many years back our water bodies held clean water. Anyone could walk down to the nearest stream or pond to collect drinking water. But things changed over time and today, leave alone drinking water, most water bodies are not even clean enough for a dip in them.
Around 36 billion litres of sewage adds up from 200 towns and cities in Indian. Mumbai alone generates 2,100 million litres of sewage each day. Presently most of this is dumped into the sea but if this same sewage water is treated if could help irrigate millions of hectares of land which can be used by our farmers to grow crops.
The top five states where most of the 302 polluted stretches of the rivers lie are Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam and Madhya Pradesh. Not that the other states aren’t to blame for polluted waters but their level of contamination is lesser compared to these five states.
There is a huge amount of money that has already gone in funding the projects to clean our rivers. The National Green Tribunal reported that the country had spent 7,000 crores till 2017 just for cleaning of Ganga. The year 2015 was a significant phase for River Ganga because it was in this year when the National Democratic Alliance created a priority programme – Namami Gange. The programme allocated Rs. 20,000 crores towards the cleaning of Ganga and its tributaries between the years 2015 and 2020. The initiative was divided in 163 projects and 41 of them have been reported as complete till October, 2017. Yet there isn’t any noticeable change being observed in the Ganga basin. The liquid and the solid wastes were not managed scientifically and this is what has set back the cleansing of Ganga.
Our nation is always caught in the snares of legalities. For instance, take the case of Uttarakhand – in March, 2017 the state declared the rivers of Ganga and Yamuna as living entities in thoughts to preserve it and rejuvenate them. However, the Supreme Court stayed the order considering the legal and governmental consequences.
We need scientific planning and a strong administration which dedicatedly takes care of the cleaning process of all the polluted rivers.