BENGALURU: The water you drink or use for your daily needs may not be as safe as you think. With more than 9 lakh million litres of sewage water entering the state rivers annually, one can only imagine the level of contamination. Karnataka has the highest number of polluted river stretches in South India — 15, and with no measures in place, the pollution of rivers continues unabated. Tamil Nadu has seven polluted river stretches, Kerala 13, Telangana has seven and Andhra Pradesh has six polluted river stretches.
According to Central Pollution Control Board across India, there are 302 polluted river stretches. A maximum of 49 such rivers were found in Maharashtra, followed by Assam (28), Madhya Pradesh (21) and Gujarat (20).
According to Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), every day 3,777 million litres of sewage effluent are diverted into the state rivers. Of this, only 1,304 million litres are treated. The remaining 2,473 million litres are left to pollute the waters daily. Annually, 9,03,645 million litres of sewage water and industrial effluent are joining the lifelines across the state. Only 4.75 lakh million litres are treated.
According to KSPCB, only 16 per cent of the local bodies have sewage treatment plants (STP) in the state. Out of 219 local bodies, only 36 have provided STPs. Following instructions from the Central Pollution Control Board, KSPCB had issued directions to the local bodies to install STPs. But nothing has changed.
As per officials, the main cause for pollution of rivers is flow of untreated sewage into them. A KSPCB official said, “The ultimate sinks for every city or town’s waste are rivers and lakes. If treated sewage enters the river then it is not a problem.”
KSPCB does not have records on the number of people who have been fined or penalised for polluting rivers. “We have given directions to the local bodies and it is their responsibility to enforce the rules,” KSPCB Chairman Lakshman said.
He said the only solution was to treat sewage. “The government has to take up construction of STPs throughout the state to treat 100 per cent of the sewage. They should also increase awareness among the public that they should not discharge untreated sewage or garbage into water bodies. It is also the responsibility of individual buildings and apartment owners to build STPs on their own and discharge water only after treatment.”
Total length 765km
Polluted stretch 50km
Some affected towns Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur, Srirangapatna, Srirangam