2,225 Million litres of untreated water is discharged daily in Delhi
As per information provided to an applicant who filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the national capital generates 3,800 MLD of waste water per day while the present installed treatment capacity is 2,603.7 MLD and the actual utilisation is merely 1,575.8 MLD (million litres per day). The data is a part of the study on performance evaluation of the sewage treatment plants in the capital by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The data translates into the fact that Delhi has infrastructure to process just 69 per cent of sewage while it is able to treat only 40 per cent of waste. It implies that 60 percent of waste water is untreated in the capital i.e. 225 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated water is left in the city to either seep into the ground or is discharged into the Yamuna daily. The statistics show that out of 18 operational Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) in Delhi, only three are working at their full capacity.
Untreated sewage is dangerous not only to the residents of the city who are exposed to several diseases, but is also catastrophic for the Yamuna river. The pollutants in the water include the Coliform bacteria, heavy metals and nitrogen which cause health hazards. After processing, the treated water can be used for such work where fresh water is used like cleaning and industrial use.
The data raises several questions - Is there a coherent system to assess the requirements of a city and ensure installation of adequate number of STPs? Why are the existing STPs on which a huge amount of money has been spent, not working at their full capacity? The CPCB is the national pollution monitoring body and it is not known whether it has done any similar study in relation to other major cities of the country. India, cannot be restricted to Delhi alone, and sewage is generated everywhere. It would be a nightmare to come at the total untreated sewage in the country which is left to nature to take care of itself.