Reiterating a complete ban on open defecation and dumping of waste on the floodplains of the Yamuna, the National Green Tribunal Friday revisited an earlier order from 2015 with the hope that soon the “people of Delhi would be able to walk across the banks of river Yamuna without breathing stinking air”.
The tribunal had in January, 2015, laid out an exhaustive plan — the ‘Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna’ Revitalization Project, 2017” — to revitalise the river that also levied a Rs 5,000 environmental compensation on polluters. The green tribunal also constituted what can be termed as a ‘Yamuna committee’ headed by the Delhi Jal Board CEO to oversee the execution of work pertaining to the cleaning of the river.
The committee, which has representatives from the DDA and the National Mission for Clean Ganga, was directed to submit status reports at regular intervals. “At least the work for treating about 67 per cent of the pollution of river Yamuna generated in the area of Delhi has commenced,” the bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar noted.
Pollution arising from Delhi Gate drain and Najafgarh drain contribute to 67 per cent of the pollution of the river across a 22 km stretch. “In fact, pollution reduction by treating about 67 per cent in Phase-I itself would bring back the life of the river, to some extent, and its bio-diversity and aquatic life,” the bench noted.
The green tribunal also asked the DJB to submit a complete project under Phase-2.