Water supply and sanitation in cities are critical basic needs for improving people's quality of life and increasing their productivity. Rivers, streams, wells, and lakes are used for home and industrial purposes in metropolitan areas.
Nearly 80% of the water supplied for domestic consumption is discharged as effluent. Most wastewater is discharged untreated, and it either sinks into the earth as a potential groundwater pollutant or is dumped into the natural drainage system, creating pollution in downstream areas.
"Waste (usually liquid) coming from a community; may be constituted of domestic wastewaters and/or industrial discharges," according to the EPA.In India, it is a major source of water pollution, particularly in and around large cities.
In India, over 78 percent of the urban population has access to safe drinking water, while approximately 38 percent have access to sanitation services.
As the global urbanisation trend continues, one of the most serious issues is urban environmental management!
The necessity to supply continuous essential human services such as water and sanitation is one of the issues encountered by urban planners. The poor handling of domestic wastewater in many Southern cities is a big problem. Human waste is constantly accumulating, and untreated wastewater contributes directly to the polluting of locally available freshwater supplies. Furthermore, the cumulative effects of mismanaged wastewater could have far negative consequences for population and environmental health.
What is the current situation of the wastewater management in India?
The creation of wastewater is increasing as the supply of drinking water in urban areas improves. If such wastewater is not properly collected, processed, and disposed of, it will have a direct impact on locally available freshwater supplies. Furthermore, the cumulative effects of untreated wastewater could have far negative consequences for both public health and the environment.
As the population of Metropolitan Cities grows, so does the need for water and, as a result, sewage output. The most significant source of water pollution in India is the discharge of untreated sewage into surface and ground waters.
Only roughly 12000 million litres per day of sewage are treated, out of a total of about 38000 million litres per day. As a result, in India, there is a significant gap between wastewater generation and treatment. Even the present treatment capacity is not being used to its full potential due to operational and maintenance issues.
According to the CPCB's survey report, over 39 percent of plants do not meet the general criteria required under the Environmental (Protection) Rules for discharge into streams, indicating that operation and maintenance of existing plants and sewage pumping stations is inadequate. Existing treatment capacity in a number of cities is underutilised, while a large amount of sewage is released without treatment in the same city. At all intermediate (IPS) and main pumping stations (MPS) of all STPs, auxiliary power backup is necessary.
What could be the possible future?
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), sewage output will reach above 120,000 MLD by 2051.
Furthermore, manufacturing clusters generate around 13,500 MLD of industrial wastewater, 60 percent of which is processed at the country's 193 common effluent treatment plants (CETPs). Because STPs are concentrated in larger cities and CETPs are unevenly distributed across states, treatment capacity shortages are magnified at the local level.
Recognizing the challenge, the Indian government moved its focus to solid waste, sludge, and greywater management as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 (SBM 2.0), the second phase of the central government's nationwide programme to abolish open defecation and improve solid waste management.
Despite these new goals, SBM Urban's budget allocation remained constant between 2020-21 and 2021-22, at INR 23 billion.
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