Yamuna pollution in Mathura, Agra: NGT directs UP chief secretary to ensure remedial action


The National Green Tribunal has directed the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh to ensure remedial action in matters pertaining to pollution of river Yamuna in Mathura and Agra.

The NGT was hearing two applications on pollution of the river in Mathura and Agra. The applications alleged discharge of untreated sewage in Yamuna in Mathura and pollution of the river in Agra by local authorities and private businesses or commercial establishments.

A bench of Chairperson Justice A K Goel noted in pursuance of the tribunals earlier orders, the state pollution control board (PCB) had filed separate reports acknowledging the pollution of river Yamuna in Mathura and discharge of 131 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage in it and failure of the authorities to take necessary remedial action in Agra.

The bench, also comprising judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, noted the untapped drains and discharge of untreated sewage into the river in Mathura and said there were huge gaps and deficiencies in sewage management in Agra.

In view of the fact that Mathura is a heritage city of great significance, visited by a large number of persons, urgent measures are called for particularly by senior level officers since huge funds stand allocated for the purpose without adequate results on the ground, the bench said.

It said that according to the report, there were three untapped or partially tapped drains in Mathura, while out of a total of 13 drains in Vrindavan, two were still untapped, and there was no time schedule for the interception of such drains.

Further, polluted water is being discharged into the rivers which are supposed to carry potable water. The channel for sewage or other effluent treated or untreated should be separated and treated water used for non-contact purposes including agriculture, horticulture and industries and supply of such water to Mathura refinery may also be explored, the bench said.

Regarding the sewage management in Agra, the bench noted that out of the 286 MLD of sewage flowing into the drains, only 58.25 MLD was tapped and no information was provided about the wastewater in the sewage network. Though the installed capacity of nine sewage treatment plants (STPs) was 220.75 MLD, its utilisation capacity remained 175 MLD, it noted. Treated sewage is still being discharged into Yamuna instead of its utilisationThere appears to be no urgency for providing STPs, the bench said.

The green panel directed the states chief secretary to ensure remedial action in the two cities by convening a meeting with the officers concerned within a month.

For the pollution in Mathura, the meeting had to consider within two months the interception of untapped drains and their diversion to the STPs, the tribunal said.

It also had to consider that treated sewage from each STP is provided to the identified command area for irrigation/agriculture and only during the non-utilisation period, treated sewage goes to the river and performance of six STPs is evaluated and improved with the defined mode of disposal, the tribunal said. The tribunal also directed the meeting to deliberate on the study of the chlorination method and treatment of industrial effluents.

In Agra, the tribunal asked the meeting to consider that the existing nine STPs are fully utilised and treated effluents are used for secondary purposes. Also, it directed consideration of other aspects, including interception of partially tapped drains and their diversion to STPs, evaluation of the performance of in-situ projects and fortnightly monitoring of existing treatment of waste water with reference to consent conditions.

The tribunal also directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to file a report on chlorination, ferti-irrigation, performance of STPs and in-situ remediation of projects in Agra.

Ordering the filing of action taken reports within four months, the tribunal listed the matter for further proceedings on August 23.

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