The Delhi High court and the National Green Tribunal have taken up the issue of water pollution in the city in multiple cases.
Progress has been slow despite intervention by the judiciary. For instance, the “poison water lake” near the Tughlakabad fort. In 2014, a PIL was filed before the high court alleging that water that collected in the area was “killing” the trees and animals.
The high court commissioned a study by the DPCC and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which found that four water bodies in the area, spread over 6.2 acres near the Tughlakabad fort were “full of raw sewage” from the nearby unauthorised colonies. For the past two years, the bench has directed government agencies on reducing pollution in the water.
A blame game first saw the MoEF and DPCC argue over which agency was responsible for the problem, and now the DDA and DJB are locked in a debate over setting up of water treatment plants. The latest inspection report, submitted on January 25, shows that the water bodies are “highly silted and covered with plastic waste.” The water also has a high level of suspended particulate matter and toxic chemicals, according to the report.
The inspection committee has recommended that a sewage treatment plant be set up at the site, while the entire area including the water bodies could be developed as a biodiversity park. The DDA has demanded over Rs 2.5 crore from the DJB to hand over land for construction of the plant, while the DJB said it cannot be expected to pay for the land, The ASI has also claimed there is “no land available” in the area for the treatment plant, even as the committee had identified parcels of land that could be used.
The National Green Tribunal(NGT) is currently hearing two cases regarding water pollution in Delhi. The Maili se Nirmal Yamuna project was created under the directions of the NGT in 2015 after a three-year-long litigation, filed by Manoj Mishra of the NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan. The NGT in a hearing last week also asked for a report on the recent rise in ammonia levels in the river. The NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar had also issued directions against dumping of industrial waste into the river. The Delhi government and DPCC are expected to submit reports on the ammonia spike before the tribunal.
The bench has also issued directions regarding groundwater pollution through leaching of waste material, after a study found high concentration of Total Dissolved Solids in the groundwater near the landfill sites at Bhalaswa, Ghazipur and Okhla.