Gujarat, with 38 towns and cities, has the fourth highest number of urban centres in the country that are located on polluted river stretches. Only Maharashtra, Assam and West Bengal has more such towns.
In reply to a question on “polluted river stretches”, the Minister of State for River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Uma Bharti laid a statement in the Lok Sabha earlier this month stating that 650 towns in the country were located on 302 river stretches identified as polluted on 275 rivers, including Ganga. Maharashtra had the maximum such towns (161), followed by Assam (49), West Bengal (46), Gujarat (38), Madhya Pradesh (37) and Uttar Pradesh (37).
Out of the 46 metropolitan cities in the country (as per the 2011 Census), 35 of them are located along the polluted river stretches. This includes the cities of Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat.
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In 2008, based on the water quality assessment conducted by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), there were 150 polluted river stretches on 121 rivers. This increased when the status was reassessed in 2015. The state pollution control boards have been asked to prepare action plan for restoration of these river stretches. “The river action plans have been taken up on rivers through state governments to intercept, divert and treatment of municipal waste water from urban centres which has not been able to adequately handle the complete sewage treatment,” the minister stated in the reply.
In 2015, the gap between the sewage generated and treated in Class-I and Class-II towns is about 38,000 MLD. This gap is due to the inadequate facility for sewage treatment.