India’s 41 tier-II cities, including Tezpur, Rishikesh, Vapi, Angul, Sangrur and Gajraula, too are facing severe air and water pollution.
Starting this financial year, the government will spend Rs.553 crore across five years to bring down pollution. While onlyRs.70 crore is allocated for the abatement of pollution in 2016-17, it is anticipated to more than double to Rs.150 crore in 2020-21.
The country’s apex pollution watchdog, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), monitors ambient air quality in 74 tier-II cities.
The CPCB estimated the sewage generation from these tier-II cities as 2,696.7 million litres per day (MLD), but their treatment capacity is not even 10% (only 233.7 MLD) of the total sewage generated, leaving a wide gap of 2,463 MLD.
“Also, water quality monitoring indicates that the rivers are polluted in downstream of major urban centres due to large-scale water abstraction and discharge of untreated/partially treated waste water and not meeting the criteria,”
The ministry has identified emission from automobiles, suspended dust, construction activities, industrial emissions and disposal of untreated and partially treated sewage as the main sources of the huge air and water pollution problem.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 13 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities in terms of air pollution are in India.
Some of the steps taken to curb pollution include:
the setting up of a monitoring network for the assessment of ambient air and water quality,
moving directly from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel standards by 1 April 2020,
introduction of cleaner fuels such as CNG (compressed natural gas),
action plan for sewage management and
restoration of water quality in aquatic resources,
amendments to various waste management rules,
ban on burning leaves,
promotion of public transport networks such as metro rail, buses, e-rickshaws and
the promotion of car-pooling, among others.