“Suggestions for a modified approach towards implementation and Assessment of Ganga Action Plan” by Purnendu Bose, Vinod Tare
Tare, Vinod., Bose, Purnendu., et al. “Suggestions for a modified approach towards implementation and Assessment of Ganga Action Plan.” Environmental Engineering and Management Programme, IIT Kanpur. Sept 2004.
In India, the implementation of river cleaning operations through ‘River Action Plans’ (RAPs) conventionally focus on a reduction in concentrated or ‘point’ sources of organic loading to the river, and is assessed by monitoring the consequent improvement in river water quality. However, in case of Indian rivers or river stretches having substantial background pollution due to distributed or ‘non-point’ loading of organic matter and nutrients, elimination of point sources of pollution may not substantially impact or improve river water quality. It is suggested that implementation of ‘River Action Plans’ (RAPs) in India under such circumstances must be conducted using a multi-tier approach. The initial emphasis in such cases should be on the selection of priority stretches of the river, where pollution control will have maximum beneficial impact on the citizens, and interception and diversion of all concentrated or point loads of pollution from these stretches. In addition, measures to minimize non-point pollution and visible pollution to the river and initiation of riverfront restoration and development projects are necessary in these priority stretches. Such measures would result in aesthetic improvements, increase the beneficial uses of the river and its surroundings, and generate favorable public perception towards RAPs, though they may not be sufficient to enhance the river water quality to the desired levels. However, as a result of the above actions, public support for funding more expensive and longer-term river cleaning schemes, resulting in comprehensive reduction in organic and nutrient loading to the river from point and non-point sources all along its length, may be generated. The need for this alternative methodology for implementation and assessment of RAPs in India has been illustrated by taking the example of ‘Ganga Action Plan’ (GAP) and assessment of its implementation near the city of Kanpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, as a test case.