Just like the country did in the Swachh Bharat Mission, India could lay out a template for other countries on securing national water security by integrating fragmented institutions and making water security everyone’s business.
The report points out that only 19 towns across the Ganga basin had a municipal solid waste plant within the town, and in 33 towns, assessors found solid waste floating on at least one of the ghats of the town.
The report summarises water quality of the river during four rounds of biological testing in the Uttarakhand stretch, and reveals that at the Haridwar barrage biological water quality improves from slight pollution to clean.
The documents, which were accessed by NGO Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, shows a clear difference of opinion between MoEF and Ministry of Shipping (MoS) over whether the project required prior environmental clearance under the EIA notification, 2006.
Apart from stretches in Uttarakhand and a couple of places as the river enters Uttar Pradesh that are marked in green (fit), the CPCB has indicated that the river is unfit the whole way till it drains into the Bay of Bengal in West Bengal barring one spot at the border of UP and Bihar.
Saying that the situation was "extraordinarily bad", a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice A K Goel ordered the executive committee, set up by the tribunal, to test water samples from the Ganga every month.
Keeping in view the biodiversity of the state, the court also ordered that National Parks including Tiger Reserve, Elephant Reserve, Jim Corbett and Rajaji National Park be declared plastic free zones.
The NGT also directed the Environment Ministry and Central Pollution Control Board to ensure that industries located in the entire Ganga basin use non-cyanide zinc for electroplating industries so that they do not release pollutants in the river.
Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar has been given a month’s time to conclude the committee’s report so as to apprise the Supreme Court of the government’s final decision at the next hearing on January 20.