Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Who is going to clean up this mess?

Open Letter to Chief Minister of UP, Akhilesh Yadav

What is the guarantee that the mosquito that is born here wouldn't bite you?

Even your ministers are not "mosquito proof" - are they? 

Dear Chief Minister, 

You decide, is this the way for garbage disposal and sewerage treatment? Whose environment are we  polluting.? Will diseases or mosquito ask your address or mine before affecting us. More so, as the world where we live in, a virus born in China in the morning, travels by air to America in the afternoon and becomes a nightmare for Africa or India in the evening. Believe me that is no exaggeration.

If this is Sewage and Garbage Disposal: Its possible only in UP! 

(A routine practice at Classic Residency -- A Shree Energy Developers Project at Raj Nagar Extension, NH-58 Ghaziabad)

Hygiene and sanitation are the most serious challenges in urban development. According to the  World Health Organization only 8 out of 3,119 towns and cities of India have adequate wastewater treatment facilities study, about 10% -- i.e. 209 have partial sewage treatment facilities—and the rest are at God’s mercy. Even as per Government of India (GOI) estimates out of 5161 urban areas only 300 have sewerage network covering about 20-25% of the area. Out of about 29000 million litre of sewage produced in India per day only about 6000 million litres gets treated per day.
What rubbish ! 

There is a large gap between generation and treatment of domestic waste water in India. Open defecation is widespread even in urban areas of India. 80% of surface water pollution is due to municipal sewage, still only 21% of the waste water generated is treated.  

Untreated sewer water is the main cause of pollution of rivers like Ganges, Yamuna and their tributaries as they pass through highly populated areas and well as pollution of surface and ground water in India. The root cause of the problem is that while the towns and cities are expanding lacks there are not enough sewage treatment plants.

Most government-owned sewage treatment plants are either ineffective or just show-pieces which remain closed most of the time due lack of electricity, overall mismanagement and shortage of trained manpower. In most case wastewater generated is allowed to evaporate or percolate into the soil. This is the main cause of unhygienic conditions, surface and groundwater pollution in the urban areas.

Roughly between 242.06 to 387.30 metric tons/day of solid municipal waste is generated in the Ghaziabad region. According to the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) the total waste generated is about 387.30 MT/day.

On an average an adult passes 0.6 to 1.1 litre urine per day, depending on temperature and humidity.  In addition to this urbanites generate about 400 to 500 gm excreta per day which is still about 1/4th those in developed countries. It is a fact that the tendency to generate waste is directly proportional to economic well being, consumption and life style.

The solid waste and wastewater seeping into the landfill pose a great threat to public health, safety, and the environment. Wastewater can be industrial waste, human waste (i.e. sewage) as well as runoff rainwater. This wastewater produced by a city finally ends up in a river, lake, or ocean.

The purpose of sewage treatment is to remove the bacteria remove and biodegradable organic wastes before allowing the sewage to a sedimentation tank, where remaining solids and microorganisms settle as sludge, while the remaining wastewater containing oxygen-demanding wastes, suspended solids, nitrates, phosphates, and toxic metal compounds, is further treated before its environmentally safe to be discharged into a river, lake, or ocean.

Safe and hygienically correct disposal of solid waste is biggest challenge for civic planners in every city of India – more so because of the mistaken notion that this is the easiest and cheapest method of waste disposal. Open disposal of waste along road side or river banks is the biggest cause of ground water and environmental pollution. Physical, chemical and biological contaminants in the solid waste choke the drainage as a result water saturated with toxic heavy metals and poisonous substances overflows into surrounding lands. This is the ideal breeding ground of all kinds of epidemic and disease causing pathogens, flies, and mosquitoes.
Remember how the solid waste floating in rain water during heavy rains created a near plague like situation in Surat and other parts of India in 1994, 1995 and 1996?  

The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) Govt. of India has enacted the Municipal Solid Waste [Management and Handling] Rule 2000 notified under the Gazette of India No. 648 Extra Ordinary Part II-Section3-Subsection (ii) of 3rd October 2000. These rules also called MSW Rules 2000 are mandatory for every Urban Local Body including Municipal Corporation, Municipality, Nagar Palika, Nagar Nigam, Nagar Panchayat, Municipal Council and Notified Area Committee. All Municipal Authorities have to follow prescribed norms for collection, segregation, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of Municipal solid waste generated in their respective jurisdiction.

But what good are these laws unless somebody is going to implement them?

As it is increased human pressure and illegal boring of water in the booming Raj Nagar Extension area in Ghaziabad with it’s over 20,000 dwellings has depleted the water table – leading drying of Hindon river.  

One Day this city is going to drown in its own excreta!!