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  • 25 November, 2022

  • 5 Min Read

Waste Water Management

Waste Water Management

  • Nearly half, or 43%, of the world's rivers are contaminated with pharmaceutical active components at levels that could be fatal to human health.
  • Waste water management and process controls must be given top priority by the pharmaceutical industry to reduce antibiotic contamination and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
  • In India's many states, notably in pharmaceutical centers like Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, widespread pharmaceutical contamination has been documented.

About Waste Water:

  • Wastewater, often known as sewage, is the polluted form of water produced by rainwater runoff and human activity.
  • Typically, it is classified according to how it is produced, such as home sewage, industrial sewage, or storm sewage (stormwater).
  • Ordinarily, untreated sewage deposited into a body of water can naturally clean itself through stream cleaning and self-purification.
  • However, sewage discharge has increased at a rate that is significantly greater than the rate of natural purification as a result of population growth and widespread urbanization.
  • The water body becomes eutrophicated as a result of the extra nutrients produced, gradually lowering the quality of the water.
  • Eutrophication is the process by which a body of water becomes too enriched with minerals and nutrients, causing an excessive growth of algae or an algal bloom, and ultimately depleting the water body's oxygen levels.

Treatment of waste water:

  • Before wastewater or sewage enters aquifers or other natural bodies of water including rivers, lakes, estuaries, and seas, contaminants must be removed through wastewater treatment, also known as sewage treatment.
  • Sewage treatment facilities on-site (STPs) process and clean wastewater to make it suitable for reuse.
  • STPs primarily use household sewage to remove pollutants from wastewater.

What is India's current state of waste water management?

  • In 2021, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) produced a study stating that India's current water treatment capacity is 27.3% and its current sewage treatment capacity is 18.6% (with an additional 5.2% capacity being installed).
  • Even while India's waste and sewage treatment capacity is more than the 20% global average, it is still far from sufficient, and failing to take prompt action and scale up the sewage treatment capacity could have detrimental effects.
  • According to government figures, 62.5% of India's urban wastewater was either not treated at all or only slightly treated.
  • A 2019 research paper claims that only 7000 million litres per day (MLD) of the 33000 MLD of waste created each day gets collected and treated at the majority of the sewage treatment plants built under the Ganga Action Plan and Yamuna Action Plan.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, (Amended in 1988)

  • The purpose of this legislation is to prevent and control water contamination and to maintain or restore the water's wholesomeness.
  • Specifically, the 1977 Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act (Amended in 2003)
  • It proposes to make provisions for the imposition and collection of a cess on water used by individuals engaged in specific industries and by local governments.

The Environmental Protection Act (1986)

  • It gives the central government the authority to establish requirements for sewage and effluent discharge, to look into and guarantee compliance, and to carry out research.
  • All types of environmental contamination, such as that in the air, water, and land, are covered by this Act.

Governmental Programs:

  • Under the Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0, the Indian government moved its emphasis to the management of solid waste, sludge, and greywater.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) set specific requirements for cities to attain ODF+, ODF++, and Water+ classifications as a result of a persistent focus on achieving Open Defecation-Free (ODF) status.
  • Sewage & septage management initiatives were started by MoHUA under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Mission.

What are the Waste Water Management Challenges?

  • Water is designated as a State topic in Schedule 7 of the Indian Constitution, but it is expressly bound by the rules listed in the Union List.
  • It gives the State the freedom to create laws governing the use of water within the State on issues like water supply, irrigation, drainage and embankments, water storage, etc. while allowing the Parliament to pass legislation regulating and developing interstate waters in the larger public interest.
  • The United States similarly exhibits this disjointed approach to wastewater and its effects. The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment acts further splinter local, rural and urban levels of water resource governance.
  • Due to the power disparities between the Center and the States caused by these constitutional procedures, there is uncertainty regarding federal jurisdiction.
  • One State's inaction specifically impacts the interests of one or more other States and results in disagreements when it comes to wastewater management.
  • While well-developed networks of interconnected sewers and drainage are necessary for centralised wastewater treatment solutions in order for effluent to be collected in one place. Because of this, they are costly, labor- and time-intensive.

Way Forward

  • Water governance must be acknowledged at all levels for the effective operation of policies and the general development of water bodies, even though a decentralised approach is required for better assessment and resolution of wastewater concerns.
  • In this respect, wastewater must be considered both as an issue of environmental degradation and as a problem in the water sector that needs to be addressed by all national, state, and local governments in a coordinated manner.
  • It is essential to supplement centralised treatment facilities with less expensive substitutes like:
  • Small townships, urban and rural clusters, gated enclaves, companies, and industrial parks are all possible locations for decentralised wastewater treatment facilities. They can be set up right on the job site, treating the wastewater at the source.
  • Utilizing fungi and bacteria, bioremediation uses microbes to break down contaminants and dangerous effluents.It has been shown to be quite efficient at cleaning lakes and ponds across the nation.
  • Phytoremediation is the employment of plants and related soil bacteria to lower the concentrations or toxic effects of contaminants.

Source: Down To Earth


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