Govt fails to upgrade STPs around lake
Srinagar, Oct 13: At a time when Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been expressing concern over the pollution levels in Dal Lake, the government has failed upgrading of the Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) around the lake.
For the last one month, Mehbooba Mufti toured Dal Lake several times. She has expressed concern over deteriorating condition of the lake.
However, at the same time, the government has not shown much concern over upgrading of the STPs around the lake.
Three STPs were set up at Nishat, Habak, and Babademb several years ago based on the Fluidized Aerobic Bio-reactor (FAB) technology.
The government had announced in 2014 that STPs would be upgraded to improve the pollution checking mechanism. However, the authorities have failed so far upgrading of the STPs around the lake.
“We use old technology in STPs which does not treat the sewage properly,” an official of the Lakes and Water Ways Development Authority. “It was decided several times upgrading of the STPs but nothing happened,” the official told KNS. “The officials at the higher level have to take the decision. We can’t do anything unless the authorities of the department show any concern for upgrading the STPs.”
A team of scientists from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) few years ago evaluated the functioning of the STPs around the lake. The team had also recommended upgradrading of FAB based technology to improve efficiency.
Tariq Ahmad, who works for preservation of the Dal Lake, said, “Huge amount of untreated sewage is being flown into lake through drains on the Boulevard during power cuts or during a mechanical breakdown.”
An environmentalist said that the government did nothing for preservation of the lake over the years.
He claimed that new constructions were coming up in and around the Dal Lake. “Floating gardens are coming up and after few years become a permanent land then constructions are being raised on it,” he said.
In June this year, the High Court observed that nutrients are found in the lake despite STPs being in place.
“Nitrates, phosphates and other nutrients are out of required permissible limits. Ph value is higher which means water is alkaline. You have to apply your mind on how it can be controlled,” a division bench had said, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation on preservation of Dal Lake.
“The sewerage adds nutrients in the form of nitrates and phosphates to the Dal waters and none of the STPs is working with the desired results,” the court had observed.
In a research on Dal Lake conducted by Dr Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, head of the Earth Sciences Department at Kashmir University said, “32% of the lake falls under severe degradation, 48% under medium degradation while as 20% of the lake waters are relatively clean.”
The study released earlier this year, says that the lake has shrunk from “31 to 24 square km from 1859 to 2014”. (KNS)