SC initiates process to clean rivers polluted by untreated sewage

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    SC starts procedure to tidy rivers polluted by untreated sewage

    By: Express News Service|New Delhi |

    Updated: January 14, 2021 6: 07: 39 am





    'Discharge of untreated industrial effluents, sewage major source of river pollution' Formation of froth in the Yamuna, at Okhla Barrage, Contamination at Yamuna in New Delhi on Monday, September 24,2018 (Express file image by Abhinav Saha)

    The hearing of a plea highlighting pollution in Yamuna on Wednesday led the Supreme Court to start a legal process against contamination of water bodies by unattended sewage, with the court signing up a suo motu writ petition with regard to “Removal of contaminated rivers”.

    A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde stated, “We discover that in addition to the issue raised by present petition, it will be suitable to take suo motu cognisance with regard to the issue of contamination of rivers by sewage effluents and ensure that the required is carried out by municipalities as far as discharge of sewage into rivers is worried.”

    The bench, also making up Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, stated, “We deem it suitable at this stage to begin with the issue of contamination of river Yamuna” and released notice to the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh; Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Modification; Secretary, Ministry of Real Estate and Urban Affairs and the Central Pollution Control Panel (CPCB).

    The court directed CPCB “to submit a report recognizing towns along the river Yamuna, which have actually not set up total treatment plants for sewage as per the requirement or have gaps in ensuring that the sewage is not released without treatment into the river”. It also asked CPCB to “highlight any other source of popular contamination within the limits of Towns” and to “submit priority-wise list of Municipalities, river stretches surrounding to which have been found to be most contaminated”.

    The court mentioned that Post 243 W of the Constitution vests towns and local authorities with the efficiency of functions and implementation of schemes as might be delegated to them, including those in relation to the matters noted in Twelfth Arrange– Item 6 of the Schedule includes “public health, sanitation conservancy and strong waste management”.

    In the 2017 Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti v. Union of India case, it was directed that “standards for generating funds, for setting up and/or running the ‘Typical Effluent Treatment Plant’ as well as ‘Sewage Treatment Plants’ will be finalised, on or prior to 31.032017, so as to be executed from the next monetary year of that date. It was directed that for the purpose of establishing these plants, the state federal government will prioritise such cities, towns and villages, which discharge commercial contaminants and sewage system straight in rivers and water bodies”, the court stated.

    The bench was hearing a plea by Delhi Jal Board, alleging that Haryana was discarding untreated discharge in the Yamuna, resulting in a spike in ammonia levels.

    The court said the plea highlights a concern of terrific significance not just for the public but all living beings reliant upon open surface water.

    The court selected Senior Supporter Meenakshi Arora as amicus curiae in the matter.

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