The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) / Pollution Control Committees(PPCs) is monitoring the quality of water bodies at 2500 locations across the country under National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQMP) which indicate that organic pollution is the predominant cause of water pollution.
Based on the magnitude of organic pollution, CPCB in 2008 identified 150 polluted river stretches which increased to 302 in 2015.
The rivers stretches are polluted mainly due to discharge of untreated / partially treated sewage and discharge of industrial wastewater.
CPCB assessed the total volume of municipal wastewater generation in the country at about 61,948 MLD as against the installed sewage treatment capacity of 23,277 MLD leaving a wide gap of more than 38,671 MLD.Similar observations were made by WHO in its reports on water pollution.
The steps taken by the Government to address the issues of water pollution include the following:-
i. Preparation of action plan for sewage management and restoration of water quality in aquatic resources by State Governments;
ii. Installation of Online Effluent Monitoring System to check the discharge of effluent directly into the rivers and water bodies;
iii. Setting up of monitoring network for assessment of water quality;
iv. Action to comply with effluent standards is taken by SPCBs / PCCs to improve the water quality of the rivers;
v. Financial assistance for installation of Common Effluent Treatment Plants for cluster of Small Scale Industrial units;
vi. Issuance of directions for implementation of Zero Liquid Discharge;
vii. Issuance of directions under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to industries and under Section 18(1)(b) of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
viii. Implementation of National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) and National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP) for conservation and management of identified lakes and wetlands in the country which have been merged in February, 2013 into an integrated scheme of National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) to undertake various conservation activities including interception, diversion and treatment of waste water, pollution abatement, lake beautification, biodiversity conservation, education and awareness creation, community participation etc.