How much sewage is treated in India?
In addition to its rich cultural heritage and varied landscapes, India faces an immense sewage problem. The country generates huge amounts of sewage daily as a result of rapid urbanization and increasing population. The big question is: What percentage of this sewage is actually treated? In this section, we intend to explore the current state of sewage treatment in India, the problems that it encounters, and actions that have been taken to address this urgent problem.
The amount of India’s Sewage Production.
India produces an enormous volume of sewage daily, mainly from urban areas. As reported by CPCB, India generates more than 61,948 million liters of sewage per day (MLD). It is equal to some 24,779 swimming pools per day. This is a significant challenge, and effective sewage treatment is required in order to reduce its environmental and public health consequences.
How Much Gets Treated?
Though the sewage generation is very high, the treatment capability in India lags behind adequately covering that challenge. According to my last knowledge update in September 2021, India could treat about 23,277 MLD of sewage, leaving a treatment gap of over 38,671 MLD. To put it simply, India was treating less than 40% of its sewage when this happened.
Sewage Treatment Factors in India.
Several factors contribute to the low percentage of sewage treatment in India:
Infrastructure Gaps: In small urban areas or rural localities, the sewage treatment infrastructure is still lacking at a considerable extent. The metropolitan areas also have limited sewage treatment works, hence untreated effluent ends up being released into rivers and other water bodies.
Population Growth: The problem is that the population of India continuously increases, making it even more difficult for the already strained sewage treatment facilities. The challenge is worsened due to rapid urbanisation, migration to cities, and rising household water use, which generates sewage.
Lack of Funds: The financing of sewage treatment infrastructure is very complicated. Many local bodies and municipalities face difficulty in raising adequate funds for the construction, maintenance and operations of sewage treatment plants (STPs).
Industrial Pollution: The treatment becomes complicated as industrial effluents mix with sewage. This dilemma is worsened because of the absence of strict regulatory policies and compliance oversight.
Climate Change: Sewage treatment systems, as for instance, may be influenced by climate change-induced changes in precipitation regime, with consequent impact on the system’s efficiency.
Efforts to Improve Sewage Treatment
Despite the challenges, India has taken several measures to enhance sewage treatment:
Government Schemes: The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and AMRUT have concentrated on up-grading urban sanitation and sewage treatment infrastructure in India.
Technological Advancements: This has seen an increase in treatment capacity and efficiency with use of advanced sewage treatment technologies especially decentralized treatment systems.
Public Awareness: There have been several awareness campaigns promoting responsible use of water and the need for sewage treatment.
International Collaboration: International agencies and organisations have also been utilized by India to acquire expertise and finances in sewage treatment projects.
Regarding waste, sewage treatment is an area of concern, as India still grapples with vast sewage volume and infrastructure deficiencies. Although there has been progress in the development of sewage treatment infrastructure and expansion of capacity, substantial workremains to be done to achieve overall treatment countrywide. Addressing the sewage challenge in India will require sustainable financing, stringent regulations and continued public awareness campaigns. We must treat all sewage with sensitivity and prudence for India’s environmental and public health.