Daily News Analysis

Pollution in Ghaggar river

8th June, 2021 Environment

GS PAPER II: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Context: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has come down heavily on Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana for failing to stop the discharge of untreated effluents in the Ghaggar river and said that “if the State itself fails in implementing the law, it is nothing but breakdown of the system itself”.

  • A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson said the three States and Chandigarh continue to contribute water pollution, which is a criminal offence.
  • It is breach of public trust under public trust doctrine.
  • It also directed a joint committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Punjab PCB and pollution control committee of Chandigarh to inspect the drain and furnish a status report within two months by e-mail.
  • The tribunal said that in spite of enactment of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 making discharge of untreated effluents into a water body a criminal offence, the States are still struggling to prevent untreated sewage from being discharged into the water body at a huge cost to the environment and health and lives of citizens who have fundamental right to clean environment under the Constitution.
  • Water pollution is a serious threat to the health of the citizens as well as other living beings who consume the water and also to the food safety for growth of which the water is used for irrigation.

Ghaggar river:

  • The Ghaggar rises in the Siwalik (Shiwalik) Range, in northwestern Himachal Pradesh state and flows about 200 miles (320 km) southwest through Haryana state, where it receives the Saraswati River.
  • It eventually dries up in the Great Indian (Thar) Desert.
  • The Ghaggar was probably once an affluent of the Indus River. Its seasonal flow is dependent on monsoonal (seasonal) rainfall.