Water safety an uphill task due to improper functioning of STPs

Drug Today Medical TimesThe availability of clean drinking water remains a big challenge in India due to various factors including contaminated water flowing into Indian rivers. This is largely due to dumping of industrial effluents and untreated sewage in the rivers. Several Indian states are now grappling with the crisis of contaminated water.

Conversion of this water into clean water also remains an uphill task due to lack of, and improper functioning of, Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) across all cities. This untreated water flows in rivers, lakes and ground water, thus making it contaminated. Usage of this water can lead severe health implications.

There are alarming figures that indicate if we do not solve water problems we may have a huge water crisis in coming years.

It is reported that around 70 per cent of sewage remains untreated, resulting in huge wastage of water that could be used after its purification through various methods.

It is understood that 62,000 million liters per day (MLD) sewage is generated in urban areas, while the treatment capacity across India is only 23,277 MLD, or 37 per cent of sewage generated.

According to government data released in December 2015, 816 municipal STPs are listed across India. Out of 816, only 522 SPTs work. So, of 62,000 MLD, the listed capacity is 23,277 MLD but no more than 18,883 MLD of sewage is actually treated. It means that seventy per cent of swage generated in India is not treated.

The sewage in class 1 and class 2 towns is estimated at 38,255 MLD, of which only 11,787 MLD (30%) is treated. This has been revealed in Faecal Sludge Management report, by Water Aid, a safe-water sanitation advocacy. The report revealed that untreated sewage is dumped directly into water bodies, polluting three-fourth of India’s surface water resources.

The Indian Government too admits the dysfunctional STPs are big problem in India. In November, 2014, then Environment minister Prakash Javadekar informed the media that around 70 percent of STPs in India are either not working or closed because the cost of running these plants is so high. He said that they need to make use of sludge and produce methane gas, which can generate power for these STPs.

It is important to know that those near sewage problems can experience severe health implications as complications like vomiting, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, blood infection, dehydration, kidney dysfunction and urinary infection are clear risks.

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