Co-Operative Movement for Controlling Water Pollution

by Kalpana Palkhiwala, Deputy Director, Press Information Bureau, Delhi

Distilleries, Paper & Pulp, Thermal Power Plants, Tanneries and Electroplating Units are major water polluting industries in the country. Sewage management is another challenge, for which the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in the Ministry of Urban Development and the National River Conservation Directorate are working for control of water pollution.

National Water Quality Monitoring Programme

Water quality monitoring is an important exercise, which helps in evaluating the nature and the extent of pollution control required and the effectiveness of pollution control measures already in existence.

Under the National water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQMP), a network of monitoring stations on rivers across the country has been set up with the assistance of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs). The present network comprises of 1245 stations in 27 States and six Union Territories spread over the country. The monitoring network covers 250 rivers, 79 lakes, 6 tanks, 26 ponds and 8 creeks, 19 canals, 18 drains and 382 wells.

The water quality monitoring results obtained during 1995 to 2007 indicates that the organic and bacterial contamination continue to be critical in water bodies. There has also been a decreasing trend in the level of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), indicating reduction of organic pollution in some of the rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Sabarmati, Godavari, Tapti, Narmada. As per the available data on water quality monitoring, overall observations having BOD more than 6 mg/litre have decreased with significant increase in the observations with BOD less than 3mg/litre. Coliform level also show similar trend. Thus, pollution in terms of BOD and coliform count as per the latest data has shown decreasing trend. This can be attributed mainly to the focused efforts on pollution control for critically polluted stretches of the water bodies.

Scheme of Common Effluent Treatment Plants

The concept of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CEPT) arose in order to make a co-operative movement for pollution control. The main objective of the CEPTs is to reduce the treatment cost to be borne by an individual member unit to a minimum while protecting the water environment to a maximum. Waste water treatment and water conservation are the prime objectives of the CEPT. The concept of CEPTs was envisaged to treat the effluent emanating from the clusters of small and medium-scale industries. It was also envisaged that the burden of various Government authorities working for controlling pollution and monitoring of water pollution could be reduced once the CEPTs are implemented and commissioned.

A Centrally Sponsored Scheme has been undertaken by the Government for enabling the Small Scale Industries (SSI) to set up new and upgrade the existing Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CEPT) to cover all the States in the Country. A scheme for financial assistance for the CEPTs has been formulated, the State subsidy will be - 25% of the total project cost; Central subsidy 25% of the total project cost; the Entrepreneurs contribution will be 20% of the total project cost and the loan from financial institutions will be 30% of the total project cost.

The CEPTs are managed by a CEPT company formed by the small & medium scale industrial unit. The SPCBs periodically monitor the operation, maintenance as well as statutory requirement of individual CEPT, so as to control pollution from the SSI units.

Central assistance upto 25% of the total project cost of the CEPT is provided as a grant to the CEPT on sharing basis with similar grant released by the State Government. An outlay of Rs. 25.00 crore was allocated during the Xth Plan for the scheme of CEPT, which was fully utilized.

The Ministry has funded 19 CEPTs during the period 2002-08 in the country. One location each in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, five locations in Gujarat and eleven locations in Maharashtra got this funding facility. For the year 2008-09, an outlay of Rs. 4.40 crore has been allocated for the Scheme of CEPT.

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