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New Sewage Treatment Plants on Ganga in Kanpur

 LUCKNOW: Namami Gange has not brought even a single rupee for the Ganga in Kanpur. But JNNURM funds will at least let the heavily polluted national river breathe.

The Ganga Pollution Control Unit in Kanpur has got about Rs 200 crore to make four Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) functional on the river. A 43mld treatment plant is under construction at Jajmau and might be functional by the end of the year, an STP with an installed capacity of 210mld is under-construction at Bingawan (towards Hamirpur) and another of 42mld treatment capacity is proposed at Sajari near Chakeri.

PCU has got Rs 44.6 crore for Sajari plant, Rs 127 crore for Bingawan project and Rs 25 crore for Jajmau STP. The fourth one with an installed capacity of 15mld has been proposed at Baniyapur but PCU is yet to get the sanctioned budget, Rs 19.6 crore, for the plant. "It is to be completed by December 2016," said sources.

The new STPs will treat only the domestic waste. To treat the industrial waste, a 36-mld-capacity treatment plant, set up in 1999, will be upgraded. Sources said that a detailed project report (DPR) to upgrade the plant has been prepared.

At present, it is obsolete and treats only 9mld waste out of 50mld generated everyday by tanneries. The remaining untreated waste flows into the river. The existing STPs on Ganga are functioning at a 20-year old installed capacity while Kanpur's generation of domestic and industrial waste has increased over the years.

Kanpur alone discharges 400mld waste everyday into the river. Of which, only 170 is treated by three STPs which were the first ones to be set up on Ganga and were funded by UK.

According to sources, the level of chromium in the tannery waste which was 2mg per litre then has increased to 180 to 190mg per litre now. The design parameters of the plant do not allow it to treat highly toxic tannery waste. This renders even the advance technology, UASB, that the plants work on useless.

Out of the three existing Kanpur STPs, two with an installed capacity of 5mld and 130mld, were set up in 1986 and 1996 respectively to treat domestic waste. Though, at present, after the NGT got strict, not all tanneries are functional. Otherwise, around 400 tanneries located at Jajmau in Kanpur are one of the major centres for processing of raw hides.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board's data, out of the 594 industries that discharge their effluents in the Ganga, UP has maximum 495 industries. Besides, the state alone discharges 1800mld (out of 4030 total mld) waste into the river everyday. CPCB data says that sewage and industrial effluents cause "80% of pollution in Ganga".

The treated and untreated waste flowing into the river is used for irrigation. A study done by the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) in 2006 showed ample amount of toxicity in vegetables that were being grown in Jajmau area where farmers were using the water for irrigation.