Supreme Court Criticizes Maha Govt Over Pollution in Ulhas and Waldhuni Rivers

Supreme Court Criticizes Maha Govt Over Pollution in Ulhas and Waldhuni Rivers

After a two-day inspection was conducted at Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), the Supreme Court has asked the Maharashtra Government to implement the recommendations made by the agencies. The two agencies submitted a list of 25 recommendations to improve water quality in the rivers. 

The Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee also criticized the state government for not doing enough to address the concerns regarding water pollution in the rivers. 

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Further, the state’s chief secretary has been asked to oversee the implementation of the CPCB and NEERI recommendations and also provide a report on the same. The court will hold the next hearing on November 25.

The two agencies compiled the report after analysing water from 27 locations near both rivers as well as Common Effluent Treatment Plants or CETPs that manage industrial waste. The report highlighted the “substandard treatment mechanism” and “violations of water pollution norms” by local industries over the years near Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers. 

“The conclusion drawn indicates that the problems may have been persisting for a long time and need comprehensive measures which can be accomplished in short and medium terms,” the report said.

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The report also listed out 139 industries that were found to be polluting the two rivers. Further, 117 of these industries didn’t have proper effluent treatment plants or effective treatment plans for over 18 months while the deadline is 6 months. 

Around 22 industrial units reportedly failed to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) which is mandated by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board or MPCB

“There is a need for all departments to work in tandem to address issues. Wherever action was required, we have acted. However, owing to the pandemic and other constraints, the process has taken the time and will be implemented. We have already tightened standards for CETPs, they are complying by modifying their treatment plan designs. Water quality improvement is expected soon,” SL Waghmare, Regional Officer of the MPCB (Kalyan) said. 

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