March 14, 2021 1:56:11 am
An expert committee set up by the Delhi government has prepared an environmental management plan for Najafgarh lake on directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The plan lists a number of immediate, medium and long- term measures that need to be taken over five years to manage and restore the trans-boundary lake shared between Haryana and Delhi, which lies southwest of the capital.
The measures include notifying the lake under the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017, which would give the two states powers to keep a watch on prohibited activities such as encroachment of any kind, disposal of waste and discharge of untreated effluents in the water body.
“Najafgarh jheel is a critical natural infrastructure for the region, buffering floods, treating wastewater, recharging groundwater and providing habitat to numerous plant and animal species. The high ornithological value of the wetland is indicated by the presence of 281 bird species, including several threatened ones,” the report containing the management plan states.
Among the immediate measures recommended by the committee include demarcation of the lake boundary using geo-tagged pillars, setting up a Najafgarh Wetlands Committee, commissioning a hydrological assessment and putting in place a wetland assessment and monitoring system.
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The committee, chaired by Delhi’s principal chief conservator of forests Ishwar Singh, gave its report to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which submitted it to the Tribunal on Thursday. The NGT had directed in September that Haryana and Delhi should make a joint environmental management plan for the lake within three months.
The Union environment ministry was to steer the proceedings for preparing the plan and the CPCB was to coordinate as the nodal agency. However, the agency said in report to the Tribunal that it was yet to receive Haryana’s environmental management plan, even after sending three letters on the matter to the state government and the Haryana Pond and Waste Water Management Authority.
The observations made by the CPCB on Delhi’s plan was that it needs to identify and quantify sources of pollution deteriorating the lake’s water quality, having current and historic water quality data for all physico-chemical parameters, and specify exact timelines for actions proposed in the plan along with implementing agency and budget estimate.
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