Maharashtra Pollution Control Board Initiates Comprehensive Measures to Address Indrayani River Pollution During Ashadhi Wari 2024

Pune: The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has launched a comprehensive initiative to monitor and mitigate pollution in the Indrayani River during the Aashadhi Wari pilgrimage in 2024. Following directives from the MPCB headquarters in Mumbai, the Regional Officer in Pune has implemented 24/7 monitoring and sampling of the Indrayani River, sewage treatment plants (STPs), and related industries.

“The MPCB is committed to preserving the ecological health of the Indrayani River and ensuring a pollution-free environment during the Aashadhi Wari pilgrimage. These measures aim to safeguard both the natural habitat and the health of pilgrims and residents,” said Siddhesh Ramdas Kadam, Chairperson of MPCB.

Continuous surveillance and sampling of the Indrayani River will be conducted to detect and address pollution, with a focused monitoring of sewage treatment plants and industrial discharges. Notices have been issued to Chief Officers of Alandi Municipal Council, Dehugaon Nagarpanchayat, Dehuroad Cantonment Board, Lonavala Municipal Council, Talegaon Dabhade Municipal Council, and Vadgaon Nagarpanchayat. These directives mandate the treatment of all sewage within their jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The initiative emphasizes the importance of maintaining the water quality of natural water bodies to protect aquatic life and public health. It addresses public complaints and media reports regarding foam formation and water hyacinth growth in the Indrayani River. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has taken suo moto cognizance following a news report in one of the well-known Kudalwadi, publications on February 12, 2024, and has directed the MPCB to file detailed reports and take corrective actions.

Untreated domestic and industrial waste have been identified as major pollutants, with pollution points from Lonavala to Alandi falling under the jurisdiction of multiple local authorities. The MPCB has issued recommendations for pollution control, including the regular removal of siltation at bandharas (dams) to ensure the natural flow of the river, upgrading existing STPs to meet prescribed discharge standards, and ensuring local bodies reserve funds for the installation and maintenance of sewage treatment facilities. Public awareness campaigns will also be launched to highlight the importance of preventing river pollution.

Immediate measures have been initiated, including in-situ cleaning and pollution abatement projects for IIT Bombay to prepare a detailed project report on nalla treatment.

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