India's big rivers are highly polluted as the pollution load on rivers has increased over the years due to rapid urbanisation and industrialization, said Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forests.
Water quality monitoring carried out by reputed institutions such as, IIT, Kanpur, BHEL, Patna University, etc. indicates that, water quality of the river Ganga conforms to the prescribed standards in terms of key indicators, namely, Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Dissolved Oxygen (DO) at most of the locations, except in the stretch between Kannauj and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. However, the levels of fecal coliforms are reported to be exceeding the maximum permissible limit at a number of monitoring stations along the river Ganga.
The water quality in the stretch of the river Yamuna from Tajewala to Palla in Haryana is found to be within the prescribed limits. However, the stretch of the river in the vicinity of Delhi (downstream of Wazirabad barrage to upstream of Okhla barrage) and in parts of Uttar Pradesh does not meet the standards in terms of Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand. The water quality of Yamuna has not shown the desired improvement owing to large gap between the demand and availability of sewage treatment capacity and lack of fresh water in the river.
The Central Government has constituted the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 on 20th February, 2009 as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for conservation of the Ganga River. States have been requested to explore the possibilities of setting up Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and other innovative modes for financing and implementation of schemes for conservation of rivers and operation and maintenance of assets.
Conservation of rivers is an ongoing and collective effort of the Central and State Governments. Under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), States contribute 30% share of the capital costs. In the first meeting of the NGRBA held on 5th October, 2009, it was decided to ensure that by the year 2020 no untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluents flow into Ganga. Investments required to create the necessary treatment and sewerage infrastructure over next 10 years would be suitably shared between Centre and the States.
Shri Jairam Ramesh gave this information in a written reply to a question by Shri Mahendra Mohan in Rajya Sabha today.