The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought a detailed reply from the Haryana government by February 13, 2018, on a petition of the Delhi Jal Board, which claimed that the water being released by the state was so polluted that it cannot be treated for drinking. It may cause ‘a huge and irreparable loss to the citizens of Delhi and has a potential for a grave health crisis and water crisis in the National Capital Region (NCR)’, the Board said. The Board sought a direction to the state government, ‘to urgently take steps to check and reduce dangerous ammonia levels and other consequent pollution being caused in the drinking water source/Yamuna, in the supply of water being taken to Wazirabad pond reservoir in Delhi’. “Take immediate steps to reduce ammonia levels and keep them below 0.3 PPM and under no circumstances above 0.5 PPM,” it said.
A green panel bench headed by justice Jawad Rahim, directed the state government to file its response to the Delhi Jal Board’s (DJB) plea seeking immediate steps to reduce the blackish colour and foul smell of the water being supplied at Wazirabad pond from Haryana. The petition claimed that for the last one month, in the supply of about 125 cusecs of water being lifted from Yamuna, the content of ammonia was ‘dangerously high’ and, therefore, cannot be treated for drinking. “The unsafe levels of ammonia and consequent pollution for other chemicals, as well the colour of the water which is being received from Haryana is blackish in colour and has a foul smell, resulting in possibility of huge health outbreak in Delhi,” the petition alleged.
It added that alternatively, the limited water available to Delhi, which was hugely inadequate to meet its demand, will have to be stopped, including to the NDMC area. The petition claimed that the ammonia level in the water was ‘so dangerously high that they are incapable of even treatment by Delhi in Wazirabad pond reservoir’. “In case the said water is put into the treatment plants and supplied, there is every possibility of causing a serious health hazard in Delhi due to high level of ammonia,” it said.
It said that the main cause of pollution, appeared to be addition of untreated domestic and industrial waste from Panipat and Sonipat areas. The stoppage of pollution in Yamuna, particularly upstream Wazirabad, is urgently needed in view of usage of raw water for treatment for drinking purposes, serving about 35 per cent area of the National Capital, including the NDMC area, it added. The petition also claimed that when the water enters Haryana, the ammonia level is nil and very much treatable, whereas when the water enters Delhi the level is very high.