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Tackling River Pollution in India

Aneesh Surender Madani

Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA)
Executive Summary

• Tackling of river pollution began through a Central

Government funded project through the 1980’s

• Reliance on multiple, state of the art effluent treatment

plants in cities to improve quality of water being
discharged into rivers. Unsuccessful for various reasons.
• Low cost, self sustaining waste water treatment systems
based on usage of Duck Weed recommended.
Problem Definition
• Failure of Ganga Action Plan (GAP) and Yamuna Action
Plan (YAP) to yield results despite two decades of
Central Government funding
• Urban area contribution to river pollution
disproportionately high. E.g. Almost 50% of pollution in
the Yamuna’s 1500 km journey arising in the 22 km
stretch across Delhi
• High cost effluent treatment plants for domestic and
industrial wastes in cities not utilised well due to lack of
well connected sewerage system

• Need for an alternative solution

• A combination of the Advanced Integrated Wastewater
Pond system and DuckWeed based waste water system
which will rely on gravity to direct the wastewater to
ponds outside colony (in urban areas)/village limits
where the sewage will be treated by passing it through
sedimentation ponds followed by ponds in which
DuckWeed is present which bioaccumulate almost 99%
of the nutrients present in wastewater and release a
byproduct at the end of the process which is rich in
protein and can be used as animal feed

• Low start up cost

• Easy to implement
• Low maintenance costs
• No requirement of skilled personnel for running the
Business Model

• Setting up this system across rural areas and industrial

zones where waste is currently being drained into rivers
without treatment. Revenue to come in from fees
collected from individuals and companies and sales from
the by product.
Key Issues
• Near term
– Implementation of these low cost systems in towns
with available tracts of land where river pollution
levels are much higher than other areas through
which the water body is flowing
– Quick approval from municipal corporations and
State boards to move ahead with installation.

• Long term
– Implementation of these systems in large numbers
across urban and rural areas, most of whom don’t
have an interconnected sewerage system.
The End