Govt panels to clean air, rivers in 6 months

While the committee on air quality has been mandated to bring down pollutants level as per the national parameters, the committee on the rejuvenation of rivers has an arduous task of ensuring river water fit for at least bathing purpose. Representation im

Facing wrath of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over rising levels of pollutants in air and rampant pollution of rivers across Karnataka, the state government has woken up to the alarming threat and constituted two high-level committees to cleanse air and rivers and make them fit for humans in the next six months.

While the committee on air quality has been mandated to bring down pollutants level as per the national parameters, the committee on the rejuvenation of rivers has an arduous task of ensuring river water fit for at least bathing purpose.

A petition before the NGT in October stated that 102 cities including five from Karnataka have pollutants in air excess than the national parameters. The petitioner quoted a survey which revealed that between 5,000 and 10,000 people in Bengaluru died prematurely in 2016.

Other cities

The other cities from Karnataka included Davangere, Kalaburagi, Hubballi and Dharwad.

Shocked by the findings, the NGT had directed the Karnataka government to constitute a committee to monitor the air quality.

Accordingly, Karnataka has constituted a six-member team headed by the principal secretary, forest, ecology and environment department to chalk out measures.

“The NGT noted that the major violation of standard was of particulate matter (PM10) (substances that are less than 10 micrometres with sources such as vehicular, industrial pollution, stubble burning, road dust, construction and demolition, roadside eateries and DG sets.)

The committee must indicate in the action plan the steps to be taken to check different sources of pollution having a speedy, definite and specific timeline for execution,” a senior scientific officer with KSPCB told DH.

Similarly, the state government has initiated measures to tackle pollution of rivers. As per the CPCB data, Karnataka has 17 river stretches witnessing intense pollution with as many as seven rivers falling under the priority 4 category.

The NGT, while hearing a petition in September, had directed the states to set up a River Rejuvenation Committee with a mandate of cleaning the river stretches to be fit at least for bathing purpose with biological oxygen demand levels less than 3mg/l and Faecal coliform less than 500 MPN/100 ml.

“The committee shall come up with action plan for identifying polluting sources like STPs, ETPs and CETP and solid waste management processing facilities. Setting up of biodiversity parks on floodplains by removing encroachment shall also be considered as an important component for river rejuvenation. The committee will also invite public participation from educational, religious institutions and commercial establishments,” said the government order, a copy of which is with DH.

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Govt panels to clean air, rivers in 6 months

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