Modi'S Call For Clean Ganga
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Modi's call for clean Ganga

 
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In my last post I told advantages of soak pit over drainage system and while I was doing it I remembered that our PM has promised people of Varanasi that he will endeavor to clean Ganga during his tenure as MP of Varanasi. Therefore, I want to continue on the previous topic. I came to know from some readings about Ganga and its pollution that three things cause pollution of the river. First it is sewer waste from the city, second is affluents from industries and third is waste deposited by pilgrims during their visit in the form of flowers, leaves, lamps and such decomposable and not decomposable waste material. One estimate suggests that 87 % pollution is due to sewer from the city, 16.5% from affluents from industries and the 0.5% from the pilgrims. In this post I wish to present my concept of how Varanasi should tackle the problem.

Before I proceed with the subject I want to know from my readers if they can tell me how by miss calls collected in millions by one Television channel they are going to solve this problem? This problem is essentially of scientific nature and as per my conviction only by scientifically feasible and viable ways, we should try to resolve it and we should not waste our time in gimmicks such as this. Marathon race, candle processions are of no use here and so we should not entertain such stuff. Please, do not allow these stunt players to fool us.

I have already told how soak pit is possible to stop 87% pollution now in this post I want to explain to my readers about how 16.5% industrial affluent waste can be stopped from going into the river. And then to discuss waste added by pilgrims inadvertently.

On the banks of river Ganga one city Kanpur is situated and we all know that the city with its tanneries is contributing to pollution of Ganga water most. About industrial waste they will have to use affluent treatment plant to reduce the pollution to the minimum level; and the technology is readily available for that. Our concern is after that. How to dispose off that treated affluent? Normal practice is; they make it easy by dumping it into some water source nearby and argue think that they have solved the problem. Actually, that does not solve the problem but aggravate it further by polluting the other water source. Smart arguments are provided to justify their act of dumping affluent in bigger water source. Legal provision about pollution says, BOD value up to 50 is allowed. For human consumption BOD value 20 is permitted. Taking to this provision in Maharashtra they do something very callous move by pouring affluents from distilleries in nearby rivers. The argument is very simple, distillery affluent carries BOD value as much as 2000 and may be more. If one liter of such polluted water is mixed with 100 liters of very pure water such as that of a river, final resultant BOD value will be about 20; that means permissible. Almost all distilleries of Maharashtra are doing it and the same argument is used by Kanpur tanneries to justify their pouring of pollutant affluent in the river. As per the legal provision what they do is unchallengeable. However, there is other side to it. When affluent is poured into pure water source, all oxygen of that water is consumed by the BOD and the pollutant material oxidized. The scum generated by that is floating in the water and that scum has the capacity to attract and breed pathogen. That means, such water is not good for health even though technically it is good enough for use! That water continues to stink and the foul smell of it clearly tells that pathogen are growing in it. That means there is really no short cut to affluent treatment. Nevertheless, our law experts continue to use their arguments and with total disregard for human health justify their act of mixing pollutant in river waters.

I gave this explanation to suggest to our government that, affluent treatment must be made mandatory for all industries. Next part is about how to dispose off that treated affluent.

I have done some experiments on this subject many years back and what experience I collected during that trial I wish to share with my friends here. Here I recall the technique used to dispose off sewer waste through soak pit. Soak pit collects the sewer water and that passes through the layers of soil. Gradually it percolates through that soil and during that process it comes in intimate contact with microbes in the soil and also air that is in the soil. Together and also by only microbes, pollutant material is oxidized and some insoluble organic deposits are left in the soil and the cleaned water keeps flowing gradually in the soil. It takes many meters of soil contact to clean the water so that it is suitable for use in our other work such as agricultural work, can also be used to clean clothes and wash floors; however, one cannot recommend that water for use as potable water for drink. Some experiments have nevertheless, shown that if this water passes through a soil thickness of about 100 meters enough cleansing is achieved and in that water, fish can stay alive that means that water is potable. That is because only in potable water sweet water fishes can survive.

Industrial waste water after treating in affluent treatment plant reaches pollution level such as 50 BOD and approximately similar COD level. That means, if that treated water is passed through bed of soil as thick as 100 or more meters we shall get resultant water almost as clean as potable water even though we shall not take it as that for safety purpose. In soak pits used for human waste the rate of percolation is generally slow enough so that no special efforts are required to control it. This is important because, if affluent flows at higher rate microbes cannot function effectively and a large portion may pass untreated by them. In industrial waste treatment plants, treated affluent will come out in large quantity and to treat it by soil bed a special arrangement will be required. However, I must admit that the one I want to suggest here is very simple and most natural as I believe in only natural ways to help clean the water.

If treated affluent water is allowed to pass through a tube well as deep as 100 feet and feeding it into the earth's water source, the BOD as well as COD values are reduced to acceptable level while it passes through the earth's layers horizontally which are many hundred meters thick. Only problem is that the rate at which this affluent water is allowed to enter the tube well need be regulated to keep it suitable so that microbes can function effectively. This rate of flow is very small, of the order of 10 liters per minute. Other parameter involved is also important. Two adjacent tube wells must keep a distance of 20 meter so that flowing waters do not intermix and reduce microbes functions. The arrangement is much like we use to recharge rainwater into the ground.

To understand this, I take an example to show how the arrangement will come up. Suppose there is a tannery creating ten thousand liters of affluent (600 BOD/COD) every day. After treating it we get about 9600 liters of treated affluent. BOD/COD values will be about 50. We know rate of flow of water through the tube well is 10 liters per minute and so in one 24 hours period 14400 liters of affluent will pass through one tube well into the ground. That means one tube boring is required (6 inch bore 100 feet deep and water pipe 3 inch diameter and inserted to 90 feet depth) to pass all affluent into the ground and that will recharge water into the ground water. This affluent will percolate through the ground under layer and gradually get purified. Care to be taken that there is no water well in the vicinity of 100 meter from the tube boring. An over head tank built to hold the treated affluent so that water is charged into the bore under gravity pressure, so no additional power is required to do that.

That means the affluent is not carried to the river but injected into the ground at least 100 meters away from river bank. More distance the better it will be. This alternative will solve our 16.5% pollution problem of river Ganga. This arrangement can be made on all rivers where industries are situated near the rivers. There are many tanneries on Yamuna river and there also this arrangement will prove useful.

Before I conclude on this point, let me tell my readers that we hear a lot of warnings that there will be water shortage in the future and if there is any world war it will be on water. My investigation has clearly shown to me that this is all nonsense. There is no water shortage in this world there is shortage of proper management of water problem. If we attend on it we have abundant water for all. There are some misunderstandings about water availability. But let me tell my readers that the real reservoir of water is not lakes or rivers but the ground right under our feet! Let me explain on this point.

Take one cubic meter of soil and you will find that it can hold 100 liters of water at the minimum and about 260 liters at the maximum. There is a layer of 3 meters of soil on rock below or what we may call solid ground. That can hold minimum 300 liters of water; that water is not visible to necked eye, one may feel the soil is dry but it is not actually dry. Wet soil will have 260 liters or more of water. That means, in dry seasons one acre of ground will have minimum 12,00,000 liters of water! Can you believe it? This may explain to many of my readers why big trees survive even during drought. If you know how to manage this abundant supply of water we really do not have to worry about water. Bad part is that all we try to do is by artificial methods, not only they are expensive but very often not viable. Here what I have suggested is the method that depends upon only natural ways and so very inexpensive and viable. A law must be made that all treated affluents must be used to recharge ground water and shall not be poured into any other water source such as river, sea, lakes etc.

Last reason for pollution is waste of flowers, leaves and such material along with lamps those have extinguished. My suggestion is that pilgrims should be encouraged to do cleansing by collecting it when it comes to the bank of the river. This organic waste naturally floats to the river banks after some distance they travel floating on rive. Many young enthusiastic pilgrims will be very happy to undertake that task. That waste collected and given to make manure. There will be many ways to encourage pilgrims to do this task. Z News people can take up this task.

To attend first task Varanasi local body or municipality whatever it is; will have to pass the order that all residents will have to construct soak pits in their property and eventually disconnect the drainage system. When that is done within a few days reduction in the pollution will become evident. Similarly, industries will be given notification that they will recharge their treated affluent into the ground and rules for that as based on the calculations I have given may be provided to them. That will take some time because if my information is correct, many industries do not have affluent treatment plant installed. If the people are serious about cleaning Ganga there will not be any difficulty in achieving it. One more regulation will have to be introduced and that will force all such industries those cause affluents to be shifted at least 3 kilometers away from the rive bank. A special channel provided to supply required water to those industries. By recharging their affluent 3 kilometers away we can keep the river water clean.

I know World Bank had loaned 4600 crores to government for cleansing this river, where that money has gone? Probably bigwigs of Congress and NCP have gulped it all! Leaving the river dirty. I hope my efforts will not go unattended by our honorable PM, Narendrabhai Modi and his team.

 

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ashokkothare@gmail.com

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