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Crisis in Making: Uncontrolled Sewage Dumping Chokes Holy Ganga, Urgent Measures Needed

Haridwar, a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims, is grappling with a severe waste management issue exacerbated by the surge in summer visitors and heavy rainfall in the region. The lack of efficient waste treatment facilities is leading to the discharge of untreated sewage, including human waste, into the sacred Ganga river.

The Muni-ki-Reti area in Rishikesh is facing a significant challenge with an estimated three to five million liters per day (MLD) of untreated sewage being directly dumped into the holy river. The existing sewage treatment plant (STP) in Chor Pani, with a capacity of 5 MLD, is struggling to cope with the rising waste generation during the summer season.

Ashish Kumar, assistant engineer of Jal Sansthan, explained that the Chor Pani STP was designed based on a local population survey. However, in recent years, the region has witnessed a substantial increase in the population, particularly during the summer months when tourists and pilgrims flock to the Muni-ki Reti area. As a result, the sewage generated exceeds the plant's capacity, leading to the release of untreated waste into the Ganga.

To address the crisis, officials have put forward a proposal to construct a bypass line connecting the Lakkad Ghat STP in Rishikesh, which has a capacity of 26 MLD. The plan aims to divert excess sewage to the larger treatment plant, providing a more sustainable solution to the problem.

"We have prepared a plan, and work is underway on a war footing to treat the excess sewage at the Lakkad Ghat STP," said the Jal Sansthan official.

The situation demands immediate attention and action to safeguard the ecological and spiritual significance of the Ganga river. With the surge in tourist footfall during the summer season, it becomes imperative for the authorities to invest in adequate waste management infrastructure to handle the increased waste generation responsibly.

Environmentalists and local communities are urging the authorities to expedite the construction of the bypass line and take proactive measures to prevent the pollution of the holy river. The sustainable management of waste is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance and ensuring the well-being of both locals and visitors alike.

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