New Delhi: Observing serious structural lacunae and weakness in legislative framework, a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended a ban on sewage treatment at the mouth of rivers and called for creating a consolidated legislative framework to curb water pollution.
The PAC has also recommended creation of an exclusive financial institution to cater to increasing demand for funds for sewerage and industrial pollution control units and speedy establishment of National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA).
The PAC report (2014-15) on 'Water Pollution in India' stressed the need for appropriate legal interventions for increasing the number of benches of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) with specific benches for trial of pollution- related cases.
"Keeping in view serious structural lacunae and weakness in the legislative framework, the Committee recommends a comprehensive review of all existing legislations be carried for creation of a consolidated legislative framework...
"...To address the critical challenges being faced in control of pollution of water both point and non-point sources expeditiously in a time-bound manner," the report of PAC, chaired by K V Thomas said.
Noting that sewage and industrial pollution were major pollutants of rivers and lakes, the Committee found that against an estimated sewage generation of about 38,254 mld from only class I and II cities and towns, the available treatment capacity is for a mere 11,787 mld sewage.
The report said that nearly 39 per cent of sewage treatment plants do not conform to the effluent discharge standards prescribed under Environment (Protection) Rules for discharge into streams.
The report has recommended, "separation of sewers and rivers so as to ban sewage treatment at the mouth of rivers and consequent discharge of treated sewage waste into water bodies and diversion of such waste for agriculture/ horticulture and other suitable users."