Water pollution adversely affects the health of the people. It is the root cause of many deadly diseases like cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, jaundice, tuberculosis etc. Many rural areas of the country are facing such problems. Many urban areas are also facing acute shortage of drinking water and pollution-free water. Polluted water also affects the quality and quantity of agricultural produce. It adversely affects the aquatic life.
Controlling Water Pollution
Controlling the problem of water pollution needs serious effects at different levels: individual, community, NGOs and government. There is a need for public co-operation making the people conscious about health, hygiene and causes and effects of water pollution. Certain bad practices like throwing the garbage, domestic wastes, dead bodies into rivers, community bathing, burning the corpses with fuel wood need change. Industries must install pollution control devices and effective steps should be taken for proper treatment of city sewage. Strict vigil should be maintained and guilty person should be punished.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is the national apex body for assessment, monitoring and control of water pollution. It advises the Central Government on all matters concerning the prevention and control of water pollution and provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment for implementing the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Under this Act, effluent and emission standards in respect of various categories of industries have been notified. Seventeen categories of heavily polluting industries have been identified. Out of a total of 2,155 units of these categories, 1,877 units have installed adequate facilities for pollution control, 225 units have been closed down and remaining 53 units are defaulters (India, 2005, p. 264). The CPCB, in collaboration with the SPCBs monitors the quality of fresh water resources of the country through a network of 784 monitoring stations of which 414 are on rivers, 38 on lakes and 25 on ground water.
Ganga Action Plan
The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) was launched in 1985 to clean the holy river. Phase I of this plan, with a total cost of Rs. 462.04 crore, was designed to tackle pollution from 25 cities and towns along the Ganga. The Phase I could not achieve desired objectives. Phase II of GAP was launched in July 1995 which besides completing the incomplete works of Phase I selected 29 towns and identified its three tributaries (Yamuna, Gomati and Damodar) for pollution control. The GAP Phase II has been merged with the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) which now covers 157 towns located along 31 interstate rivers in 18 states of the Union. Under this plan pollution abatement works are being taken up and 215 schemes have been sanctioned.
Under Yamuna Action Plan (launched on June 5, 1993) pollution abatement works have been taken in 21 towns (12 in Haryana, 8 in U.P. and 1 in Delhi). Similarly the Gomati Action Plan has taken up pollution abatement works in Lucknow, Sultanpur and Jaunpur districts. A proposal under National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) for cleaning three lakes (Powai in Maharashtra, Ooty and Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu) has also been approved by the Government.