Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said his government has prepared a six-point plan to clean the Yamuna river to bathing standards by February 2025.
He said the government is constructing new sewage treatment plants (STPs) as well as increasing the capacity of the existing ones and upgrading them.
“This will increase our sewage treatment capacity from around 600 million gallons of waste water a day to 750-800 MGD,” Kejriwal said.
He said the waste water from four major drains falling in the Yamuna—Najafgarh, Badshahpur, Supplementary and Ghazipur—is being treated in-situ.
The government will shut down the industries discharging industrial waste into the Yamuna, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said.
Waste water in ‘jhuggi jhopri’ clusters flows through storm water drains into the Yamuna. These clusters will be connected to the sewer network, the chief minister said.
The government will provide household connections in areas that have a sewer network. Earlier, the consumers had to get the connections themselves.
The city government has also started de-silting and rehabilitation of the sewer network.
“Our engineers and officers are hopeful that we will be able to clean the Yamuna by February 2025 with the implementation of the six-point action plan. Specific targets have been set for each action point and I will personally monitor the progress,” Kejriwal said.
Delhi generates around 720 million gallons of waste water a day. The 35 STPs at 20 locations across the city can treat up to 597 MGD of sewage and have been utilising around 90 per cent of their capacity.
Pictures and videos showing devotees offering prayers in the Yamuna on the occasion of Chhath Puja with foam floating on the surface of the river had triggered a political slugfest between the ruling AAP and the BJP in Delhi.
The 22km stretch of the Yamuna between Wazirabad and Okhla, which is less than two per cent of the river's length of 1,370km from Yamunotri to Allahabad, accounts for around 80 per cent of the pollution load in it.
According to experts, the primary reason behind the formation of foam in the Yamuna is a high phosphate content in the detergents used in dyeing industries, dhobi ghats and households in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The poor quality of effluent discharged from common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) and STPs is another reason.
Waste water from authorised colonies and settlements containing a high phosphate content reaches the river through untapped drains. When the water falls from a height at a barrage, the turbulence agitates the phosphoric compounds in the river, which leads to the formation of froth.
Frothing in certain stretches of the river, such as near ITO and the Okhla Barrage, has become an annual phenomenon now in winters when the temperatures are low and the flow in the river is less.