Experts call for upgradation of sewage infrastructure in the country as less than 30 per cent of sewage generated across largest cities in the country undergoes treatment before it is disposed into freshwater bodies or the sea.
It may also be noted that sewage generated in informal settlements and in smaller cities and towns face acute lack of municipal infrastructure for sewage collection. As per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) rules, a city or town’s municipality or water authority is responsible for collecting and treating 100 per cent of the sewage generated within its jurisdiction. The level to which the sewage has to be treated depends on where it will be disposed-treatment standards are higher for disposal into freshwater bodies than the sea. However, typically even where sewage treatment plants (STPs) exist, sewage collection networks are inadequate so only a small portion goes for treatment.
The rest flows into nallahs and drains from where it is pumped into surface water bodies. Sometimes wastewater stagnates in pools from where it leaches into the groundwater table and contaminates underground aquifers. Often, informal industry and peri-urban agriculture add industrial and agricultural waste to the mix.
Of late, some municipal corporations, urban development authorities and other bodies are taking steps to upgrade their sewage infrastructure. For example, Chief Engineer of Military Engineer Services, Bengaluru is in the process of engaging a contractor for consultancy services regarding provision of sewerage treatment plant in the city.