Good intentions galore on Environment Day
THE GREENING Delhi Action Plan 2001-2002 released on the occasion of the World Environment Day today lays emphasis on achieving a higher survival rate of trees/shrubs planted during various plantation drives undertaken in the city from time to time.
Agencies like the Department of Forests, MCD, NDMC, CPWD, DDA, PWD, Army and NGOs involved in executing this Action Plan, shall be asked to fix a survival percentage for each site, which should be at least 10 per cent higher than the previous year.
Under the Greening Delhi Action Plan, it has been decided that at least 22.60 lakh trees and shrubs will be planted all across the city in the year 2001-2002.
At least 1,100 trees were planted along the east bank of the Yamuna river, where a five-day shramdan exercise concluded today.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said that during the cleanliness drive, as many as 200 truckloads of garbage weighing approximately 600 tonnes were taken out from the river, which is the city's main water source.
The Action Plan released by the Chief Minister will have water harvesting and water conservation measures as part of its plantation programmes. The plan also states that composting will be made mandatory in all nurseries.
She said that the government had passed the Anti-Plastic Bill. ``The bill is before the civic authorities, who are contemplating a policy of how best to check the use of plastic bags, specially those of inferior quality,'' she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Delhi Environment Minister Dr Ashok Kumar Walia promised 16 more common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) for the metro, out of which he said that construction had already started in 14 CETPs.
Delhi Legislative Assembly Speaker Prem Singh also launched an awareness drive in South Delhi's Khanpur village. He exhorted the public to plant more trees and stressed on the need to involve more and more youngsters in such campaigns.
The Society for Environmental Awareness, Rehabilitation of Child and Handicapped (SEARCH), which draws its volunteers from JNU and IIT, organised drawing, poster-making and essay competitions for children which had environmental issues as the main theme.
These drawings and posters were displayed at the shramdan site at Wazirabad Pontoon Bridge.
The Central Pollution Control Board along with the National Science Centre also organised several competitions in which over 350 children participated.
Former Environment Secretary Prof M G K Menon, who was the chief guest on the occasion, stressed the importance of propagating Indian values, which emphasise living in harmony with our environment.
The Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment organised a programme in which it was stated that environmental protection is an international responsibility.
Over 12 ambassadors and high commissioners who addressed the programme advocated combined global action to combat rising pollution levels.
Water is clean till it reaches Wazirabad
By Rahul Gupta
NEW DELHI: The journey of the Yamuna from the Tajewala barrage in Haryana to village Palla in Delhi is one of struggle. Simply because the river loses all its water at Tajewala and still manages to meander into Delhi full of clean, clear water.
At the Tajewala barrage in Haryana, the western and eastern Yamuna canals take water for irrigation and drinking to Haryana, Delhi and UP. In fact, the river is almost dry after it leaves the Tajewala waterworks. Still, the Yamuna travels 200 km to the Haryana-Delhi border and provides Delhi with almost 20 per cent of its drinking water.
But how does a dilapidated river still have so much water for Delhi?
Central Pollution Control Board senior scientist RC Trivedi says: During its 200-km course between Tajewala and Palla village where the river enters Delhi the Yamuna gets water through natural systems. Mostly, the groundwater flows into the river because of a natural drainage pattern.
Groundwater in this part of Haryana is high because the demands on the river are not high. Regional planner Suresh Rohilla, who has worked on the INTACH water project says: As the western Yamuna Canal satisfies the drinking water needs of Haryana, the Yamuna is left alone. During this 200-km course, the Yamuna passes through Haryana fields which have a high groundwater level. This groundwater flows into the Yamuna bed and fills it up during the lean season.
Trivedi says: The best part is that in this stretch, no drains flow into the river. The river goes to the water treatment plant at Wazirabad where water is taken and provided to Delhiites. This water also is used for irrigation by Delhi farmers after Palla village.
But a 35-km-long Haryana drain drain No 8 flows into the river just before Palla village, creating serious problems for drinking water supply in the Capital. This drain carries the effluents from electroplating and pharmaceutical industries. The drain also carries effluents from tanneries and tissue paper factories in Haryana.
Trivedi says that protests from the DJB forced Haryana to change the route of the drain and merge it with another. This saved Delhis drinking water supply from getting polluted. Trivedi says: Because water from this stretch quenches the thirst of the city, any kind of activity is banned on the river here. Except for watermelon farming between Palla and Wazirabad, no activity, including fishing, boating and religious activities, is allowed here.
But a visit to Ram Ghat, which touches the boundary wall of the Wazirabad WTP, shows that people regularly use this stretch for religious purposes. The Ram Ghat also has a few temples, which attract people from all over Delhi. The river ends up taking all the flowers, ashes and idols.
Just three days back on the auspicious day of Ganga Dushera crowds thronged the Ram Ghat. And families brought sacks full of puja materials to be thrown into the river. Even the guards at the close-by Sur Yamuna Ghat, which had been closed, directed bathers to the Ram Ghat.