Committee constituted to come up with action plan for Vrushabhavathi valley
After years of neglect, resulting in it being mistaken for a giant sewer, there is finally a plan for the highly polluted Vrushabhavathi river. A committee has been constituted by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to draw up an action plan for the Vrushabhavathi Valley (V-Valley).
The KSPCB memorandum about the committee stated that there is a need to protect and conserve the Vrushabhavathi to “conserve the water source, ensure maintenance of micro climatic conditions, including temperature.”
The committee will be headed by the KSPCB Member Secretary, and will include the president or representative of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI), a waste water engineering expert nominated by the KSPCB Chairman, and Namami Vrushabhavathi Foundation’s Niveditha Sunkad.
Vrushabhavathi Valley is one of the three major valleys in Bengaluru. The river flows south, joining the Arkavathi, a tributary of river Cauvery. The catchment of V-Valley is about 170 sq.km. covering about 90 wards in BBMP, the memorandum said.
“V-Valley generates about 480 MLD of domestic sewage. Most of this is being discharged into the valley either in partially treated form or in untreated form. This has resulted in the pollution of Vrushabhavathi causing problems to the surrounding environment,” it added.
A KSPCB official said the first decision taken by the committee is the deployment of night patrolling vehicles. Teams of two marshals with vehicles have been deployed between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. to identify culprits discharging effluents and dumping solid waste into the valley and report it to the Board.
Illegal night discharge and dumping has been one of the biggest problems. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) too has raised the issue. The Hindu
Residents living near the river said the next priority of the committee should be to look at polluting industries.
“They need to identify polluters and bring in solutions instead of penalising them. From Hosakerehalli side and from Uttarahalli side, there are a lot of dyeing industries that are discharging effluents into the lake,” said a resident.
Ms. Sunkad, who is on the committee, said constitution of the committee was a first step. “Solutions are there. It is just that the KSPCB has to do the bridging between solutions and industries,” she said.
But questions are being raised about the composition of the committee. Some point out that external expertise comes in the form of an ‘invitee wastewater management expert’, and that there are no external scientists in the committee.
Sharachchandra Lele, Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Policy and Governance of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology, which has carried out studies on the river, said it is important for the committee to understand the problem thoroughly – both about the industrial and the domestic pollution – by consulting those who have researched the river.
“They should hold a public hearing process to determine what should be the use and therefore what should be the water quality goal for the river, how domestic sewage will be tackled because the main problem lies in lack of connectivity with the sewer system or lack of STPs, and determine the main roadblocks to controlling industrial pollution. They should involve the polluting industries as well as common citizens in solving the problem,” he said.