As told to parliament (December 9, 2021): Yamuna ammonia pollution affects Delhi water supply

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 10 December 2021

There is an occasional rise in ammonia levels in River Yamuna at Wazirabad barrage, according to the Water Quality Assessment of the river, said Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union minister of Jal Shakti (water resources) in Lok Sabha December 9, 2021. 

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) informed that water supply was affected intermittently in many parts of the national capital due to ammonia pollution with rise in ammoniacal nitrogen levels, Shekhawat added. 

The water treatment plants of DJB at Chandrawal, Wazirabad and Okhla lift partial raw water from river Yamuna and stop water intake from Wazirabad barrage when ammoniacal nitrogen reaches the level of one milligram per litre (mg/l), the minister added. This is because the DJB plants don’t have adequate preliminary treatment facilities to handle such raw water. 

High levels of uranium in Bihar districts

Saran, Bhabhua, Khagaria, Madhepura, Nawada, Sheikhpura, Purnea, Kisanganj and Begusarai districts in Bihar have uranium higher than Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) permissible limits (0.03 mg/l) for drinking water, Bishweswar Tudu, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti told the Lok Sabha. 

Tudu was quoting from the country-wide water quality assessment by the central groundwater board done in 2019. 

The department has not conducted any specific study on the impact of use of groundwater with excess uranium concentration on human health. However, health studies carried out elsewhere in the world suggest that elevated uranium levels in drinking water may be associated with kidney toxicity, the minister added. 

Budget for controlling air pollution

Ambient air quality data in 96 cities showed a decreasing trend of particulate matter 10 (PM10), whereas 36 cities showed an increasing trend of PM10 concentration in 2020-2021 as compared to 2019-2020, Choubey said.

As many as 18 cities were found to be within the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standard (PM10 less than 60 microgram per cubic metre; μg/m3) in 2019-20, which increased to 27 in 2020-21. 

In 2020, Delhi recorded 227 ‘Good’, ‘Satisfactory’ and ‘Moderate’ days, as against 108 in 2016, Choubey added.

Under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), Rs 290 crore have been allocated for 82 non-attainment cities for 2021-2022 to prevent air pollution

Thermal power capacity to increase 

In 2021-22, four thermal power projects (TPP) with a capacity of 2,370 megawatt (MW) have been commissioned, RK Singh, Union minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy told the Lok Sabha.

In addition, nine TPPs, with a capacity of 4,995 MW, are targeted to be commissioned this financial year, he added. The Union Ministry of Power issued a scheme on November 15, 2021 for flexibility in generation and scheduling of thermal / hydro power stations through bundling with renewable energy and storage power, Sigh said.

Rooftop solar capacity augmented

The Government of India in June 2015 had approved scaling-up of grid-connected solar power projects capacity target under the National Solar Mission from 20,000 megawatts (MW) to 100,000 MW by 2022, of which 40,000 MW was to be achieved through Grid Connected Rooftop Solar (RTS) projects, Singh said.

The target for setting-up RTS capacity through Central Financial Assistance (CFA) was 2,100 MW, against which an aggregate capacity of 2,098 MW capacity was sanctioned of which a capacity of 1,319 MW was reported achieved till December 5, 2021.

A third of coastline under erosion

About 32 per cent of the Indian coastline is under varying degrees of erosion, 27 per cent under accretion and the remaining 41 per cent in a stable state, said Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change told the Rajya Sabha. He was quoting from the National Centre for Coastal Research study of the 6,632 kilometre-coastline from 1990-2018. 

Further, the state-wise shoreline analysis revealed that 60 per cent of the West Bengal coast was noticed with varying degrees of erosion, followed by Pondicherry (56 per cent), Kerala (41 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (41 per cent). 

Accretion was dominant along the Odisha coast (51 per cent) followed by Andhra Pradesh (48 per cent). 

App for air quality monitoring, complaints

Centre Pollution Control Board developed a mobile application called Sameer, which provides real-time information on ambient air quality in 167 cities in 27 states / Union territories, from 325 automatic air quality monitoring stations, Choubey said in Rajya Sabha. 

This app captures air quality data and converts the same into the air quality index (AQI) that represents air pollution in cities or towns. About 920,000 users have downloaded this app, he added. 

The app can also be used to directly lodge complaints related to air pollution in Delhi-NCR, the minister added. Complaints lodged by the public are routed directly to the concerned local agencies for taking appropriate action on ground. 

This app has so far helped in redressing about 28,290 public complaints related to air pollution, Chuobey said.

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