ganga-rejuvenation

CONTEXT

The Director General for National mission of clean Ganga has talked about rejuvenating the Ganga’s water and maintaining the river’s purity can prove to be one of the best ways to keep Sundarbans alive and protect it from the effects of climate change

NAMAMI GANGE PROGRAMME

  • Namami Gange was launched in 2014-15 for the rejuvenation of Ganga and its tributaries with assured funding of Rs.20,000 crores
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementing agency
  • It is backed by Ganga river basin management plan and has a holistic multisectoral, multi agency and multi level approach in four broad categories
    • Pollution Abatement (Nirmal Ganga)
    • Improving flow and ecology (Aviral Ganga)
    • Strengthening people-river connect (Jan Ganga)
    • Research & knowledge management (Gyan Ganga)
  • It is not only limited to cleaning or piecemeal selected city intervention but follows river centric and basin-based approach for comprehensive rejuvenation
  • The government has notified NMCG as an authority under the Environmental Protection Act,1986 and created empowered institutions & laid down fundamental principles with a comprehensive framework for rejuvenation of rivers in the Ganga basin
  • It has integrated rivers, tributaries, wetlands, floodplains, springs and small rivers as a single system
  • It envisages an integrated administrative structure from the national to district level facilities with shared vision, convergence, effective implementation and involvement of people

 

 

Pollution Abatement (Nirmal Ganga)

  • Namami Gange introduced PPP for sewage infrastructure for the first time in India through hybrid annuity model (HAM) bringing a paradigm shift from payment for construction to performance linked payments
  • The 'one-city one-operator approach' merging the rehabilitation of old and creation of new assets and operation & management for all of them on HAM to improve governance was introduced
  • The annual inspection of grossly polluting industries by expert institutions, online monitoring, process improvement and common effluent treatment plant have helped in checking the industrial pollution
  • Improving sanitation at ghats, stopping solid waste from entering the river, surface water cleaning and improving process capacity in urban local bodies have helped to make Ganga grams ODF

Improvement in flow and ecology (Aviral Ganga)

  • Demarcation and protection of floodplains, protection and conservation of wetlands especially floodplains and urban wetlands, springs and small river rejuvenation projects are under implementation
  • Sustainable agriculture is being promoted through organic farming, eco agriculture and medicinal plantation and improving water use efficiency
  • Also demand side management, rainwater harvesting, aquifer mapping and recharge are under progress

People River connect (Jan Ganga)

  • 'Jan Bhagidari' is central to this mission, riverfronts have been improved and kept clean because of the efforts of people
  • Transformation of ghats from dirty to beautiful riverbanks is taking place with people's participation
  • Dedicated cadres of Ganga saviours are working to reach out to the community and helping to create awareness
  • All efforts can help in in bringing behavioral change transforming the programme as a Jan Andolan

Research, policy and knowledge management (Gyan Ganga)

  • A new paradigm for planning for river cities to mainstream river health in urban planning and a national framework for reuse of treated wastewater are being formulated
  • Namami Gange is now leading to the development of Arth Ganga model linking the economic development of the Ganga basin with ecological improvement and Ganga rejuvenation

HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT OF WASTEWATER

  • The inadequate management of wastewater has emerged as one of the biggest threats to the riverine ecosystem and public health in the Ganga basin
  • While the conventional methods of wastewater treatment like sewage network and sewage treatment plants need to be strengthened especially in the terms of durability and performance, equally urgent is the advocacy of some alternative methods at policy level and intervention at the implementation level
  • Initiatives like faecal sludge and septage management (FSSM) acquire even greater significance in the backdrop of increasing acceptance of the fact that connecting all households especially in the urban areas to sewage networks is an extremely daunting task
  • The importance of FSSM also reflects in the vision of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen), Phase-2 as faecal sludge management is one of the focus areas of ODF to ODF plus
  • The demand attention is also becoming the decentralized approach to integrated wastewater management which is increasingly being watched as an attractive solution for addressing the problems of water pollution and scarcity
  • From augmenting the performance of sewage networks and sewage treatment plants through innovations like hybrid annuity model (HAM) and one City one operator to implementation of FSSM projects to bioremediation, multi pronged approach has been adopted to address the challenge of waste water in the Ganga basin
  • The importance accorded to river sensitive planning and water sensitive design in urban areas under Namami gange programme attests to the vigorous advocacy of including river health at the planning stage rather than viewing the riverine ecosystem as mere water sources for the population which can be dealt at some later stage

WAY FORWARD

  • Local planning in both rural and urban areas plays a major role in successful management of wastewater
  • It is essential that decentralised planning is practiced in mainstream for successful implementation of multiple efforts being made in the direction of pollution abatement in the Ganga basin
  • It is imperative for the planners and managers to view rivers, water and ecology as an essential balancer and not just a resource to be injudiciously used