PROCEEDINGS OF THE THIRD MEETING (MAY 27, 2005) OF CONSULTATIVE ACTION GROUP

ON URBAN WASTEWATER

USE AND ITS IMPACT ON LIVELIHOODS, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT IN KANPUR.

 
The third CAG meet was held in the Committee Room of KNN on May 27, 2005.
 

Rakesh K Jaiswal, Executive Secretary of Eco Friends while welcoming the participants briefed about the current status of wastewater generation, the disposal practices, treatment facilities, its use as irrigation water and impacts on health, livelihoods and environment in Kanpur .

Mr Shashikant Chopde of Winrock International India gave a power-point presentation on Wastewater use and its impacts in 4 towns (Kolkata, Delhi , Ahmedabad and Kanpur ). He told that wastewater was basically being used for aquaculture in Kolkata and for agriculture in other towns. He informed that not much information was available on health impacts of wastewater use in Kolkata, Delhi and Ahmedabad.

Dr Sarita Sinha of NBRI Lucknow gave a power point presentation on her findings about the impacts of wastewater, especially tannery effluent, on soil and agriculture of wastewater irrigated areas of Jajmau. She informed that Chromium and Sodium concentration in soil and different parts of the plants was a matter of concern in wastewater irrigated areas of Kanpur . She suggested phyto-remediation measures for treating the tannery wastewater.

Mr Sunil Nishad, a farmer of the wastewater irrigated area, narrated the story as how farmers were happy when they were irrigating their farmlands with sewage diluted with Ganga water. He explained how things changed under the new dispensation of Ganga Action Plan when the Ganga water was replaced with tannery effluent. He demanded that the old system should be restored and in no case tannery effluent should be supplied as irrigation water. He told that farmers of the wastewater irrigated area were forced to live in a virtual hell and consume the poisonous tannery and city wastewater, and even worse, they were being forced to pay for this toxic water.

Presentations were followed by general discussions on ways to address and remediate the prevailing problems. Mr Imran Siddiqui of UP Leather Association complained that the leather industry was being victimized and the onus was always put on them. He was of the view that the sewage reaching the treatment plants already contained heavy metals and other toxicants which were being discharged in the sewer system by the industries other than the leather factories, therefore other industries should also be held accountable. He also informed that the technologies were available to treat the tannery wastewater up to safe levels.

Dr Shobha Chaturvedi of UPPCB stressed on the need to decentralize the treatment system of wastewater and contested strongly against the presence of other heavy metals like Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury in the tannery waste-stream while reacting to findings of IITK.

Prof. Binayak Rath suggested that the concrete lining of the sewage irrigation canal should be accorded top priority so that further contamination of the groundwater could be controlled.

The PM of Ganga Pollution Control Unit UP Jal Nigam, Mr KC Sahu lamented that the funds were not available to complete the unfinished works of GAP-II and run the existing treatment facilities created under GAP-I.

Mr FU Rehman informed that the CCRP and Scientific landfill site for the toxic tannery sludge projects would start soon and the chromium problem would be solved once these projects were completed.

It was decided that CPCB would collect and analyze sewage and irrigation water samples to ascertain respectively the composition of the sewage coming from the city and the wastewater being used for irrigation. Mr SR Sachan assured to do the needful.

Municipal Commissioner S P Mishra assured to hold the Consultative Action Group meetings at regular interval and make the relevant information and data available to the group.

The CAG meet ended with a vote of thanks by Capt SC Tripathi.

List of participants:

Mr SP Mishra, Municipal Commissioner Kanpur

Mr VK Sachan, CPCB

Mr K C Sahu, PM, GPCU UPJN

Mr S R Sachan, Regional Officer UPPCB

Mrs Shobha Chaurvedi, UPPCB

Mr HC Joshi, UPPCB

Mr Ashok K Puri, Ex Eng Jal Sansthan

Dr Madan Mohan, City Health Officer KNN

Mr FU Rehman, PPCU, GAPSP

Dr Binayak Rath, IITK

Dr Sarita Sinha, NBRI Lucknow

Mr Rohit K Mishra, NBRI Lucknow

Mr Shashikant Chopde, WII, New Delhi

Mr Sonelal Yadav, Pyondi village

Mr Umakant Yadav, Corporator, Ward no. 9

Mr Suhail Ahmed Khan, Corporator

Mr Sunil Nishad, Sheikhpur

Mr Imran Siddiqui, UP Leather Industries Assn

Mr Tariq, Jajmau Tanneries Assn

Mr Ghulam Nabi, Jajmau Tanneries Assn

Mr Mewa Lal, Muskan Jyoti Samiti, Lucknow

Capt SC Tripathi

Eco Friends team

2nd Meeting of Consultative Action Group (CAG) on Urban Wastewater use and its impact on livelihoods, health, and environment and ground water pollution problem in Kanpur.

Consultative Action Group held its 2 nd meeting on urban wastewater use in IIT Kanpur on January 17, 2005 to discuss about various alternative measures to deal with the problems arising from wastewater in Kanpur . Urban wastewater management has been a source of major concern for the people in the city for a long time. The meeting was attended by eminent academicians, social scientists, engineers, top bureaucrats of different government departments, members from NGOs, and other stakeholders. The organizer of this meeting, Mr. Rakesh K Jaiswal of Eco Friends initiated the discussion by outlining various problems associated with the wastewater generated in Kanpur city. He explained the adverse impacts of wastewater on the livelihoods and local environment at length by citing his own experiences. He criticized the functioning of STPs and ETP at Jajmau, which was set up under Ganga Action Plan (GAP). The plants unleash contaminated wastewater causing severe health hazards, negative impacts on the agriculture and livestock in more than 20 villages located in the eastern most part of the city of Kanpur .

 As a host of the meeting at IIT Kanpur, Prof. Binayak Rath welcomed all the participants and pointed out the challenges that the world is facing in terms of urban housing, supply of fresh drinking water, treatment of wastewater, and health hazards due to the degradation of environmental quality. Further, he stressed that there is a need to rehabilitate the lost glories of the Ganges at Kanpur . While describing the glorious history of Kanpur city during the British rule, he quoted a poem written by erstwhile British army officer about the beauty of the city. He expressed serious concerns about the present problems that have plagued the progress of the city and made the life of the citizens more miserable He put forward this as a challenge before the academicians, social scientists, engineers, bureaucrats, NGOs, and other stakeholders to contemplate over these problems and to suggest alternative solutions. He also emphasized on the need of a multidisciplinary approach in the policy making and implementing process. The policy makers should follow a holistic approach in pursuing programs and policies pertaining to the wastewater management in the city.

Participating in the discussion Mr.Sasikant, Chopde, Senior Program Officer, Winrock, New Delhi , suggested that there should be more CAG meetings on wastewater management in order to come up with a sound strategy to deal with benefits and problems associated with wastewater generated in different cities across the country. He also suggested that benefits of wastewater could be tapped and used for irrigation purpose in the water scarce areas after making it contamination free through advance technologies.

Dr. Padma S Vankar of FEAT Lab, .IIT Kanpur , highlighted the sufferings and plight of the villagers due to contaminated water released from the nearby treatment plants at Jajmau.

From the real stakeholders' side, Sonelal Yadav of Pyondi and Umakant Yadav of Motipur drew attention of the participants while recounting a very sordid story about the suffering of the villagers who are using the wastewater for irrigation. They told how the wastewater irrigation was causing the health hazard, loss of livestock and land fertility. They also pointed out that problems became severe and the livelihoods were at greater risk soon after the installation of treatment plants at Jajmau. U.P Jal Nigam Project Manager, Mr. S.R. Sahu agreed that the magnitude of the pollutants in the wastewater was tremendous and suggested that the adverse impacts could be mitigated if residents of the city became conscious.

Professor Vinod Tare of IIT Kanpur suggested that the tannery waste should be segregated from sewage water so that the wastewater could directly be used for irrigation purposes. He pointed out that tannery waste carries huge chromium and other toxic contents, which has enormous adverse impacts on health, livelihoods, livestock and agricultural land. If we could keep tannery effluent away from sewage, then 90 % of the problems emerging out of wastewater irrigation would automatically be solved. He also expressed doubt about the functioning of the Chrome Recovery Plants (CRPs) installed by various chrome-tanning units of Kanpur . He opined that the tannery wastewater that is a cocktail of highly toxic chemicals couldn't be treated to safe levels with the existing treatment system and facilities in Kanpur .

The Chief Medical Officer representative, Dr. B.Singh assured the panel that he would provide all the logistic assistance to the affected villages.

Participating in the deliberations, Mr N S Pandey, Additional Municipal Commissioner of Kanpur City assured that he would furnish all the required information to the members of the CAG for a comprehensive study of the entire gamut of the issue. He also promised to extend full cooperation to the CAG.

The GM of Ganga Pollution Control Unit UP Jal Nigam, Mr O P Singhal reported that 88 chrome tanning units had already set up CRP and many more are underway. They also alleged that their department is accorded least priority in the state budget.

Sr. Scientific Officer, Department of Environment, Govt. of Delhi, Dr. Anil Kumar , pledged that he would provide all logistic and required assistance within his individual domain for the upcoming workshop on wastewater management in New Delhi .

Dr A N Tiwari of Agronomy Department, CSA gave valuable suggestions that the report of the CAG meet with certain recommendations should be sent to various authorities at different levels. He also suggested involving institutions like ICAR, ICMR and NBRI in CAG deliberations.

Regional Officer of UPPCB, Mr S R Sachan also was in agreement with Dr Tare that the tannery wastewater should not be mixed with sewage that was being used as irrigation water. He also informed that 23 chrome-tanning units that did not have the CRP had been closed and sealed recently.

It was unanimously agreed upon that with a view to mitigate the problems of the farmers down stream of the treatment plants, the tannery wastewater should not be mixed with the domestic wastewater. The efforts should be made to extract chromium and other toxicants from the tannery wastewater and then it may be allowed to flow into the river. All the participants agreed that there should be a National Workshop on the various issues pertaining to the wastewater management in different cities of India . It was also decided that all those who have researched in this subject should be invited to the future meetings to share their research findings and alternative solutions.

The CAG meet ended with a vote of thanks by Mr R K Jaiswal.

List of participants:

•  Mr N S Pandey, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Kanpur

•  Mr O P Singhal, GM, GPCU UPJN

•  Mr K C Sahu, PM, GPCU UPJN

•  Mr A K Mittal, GPCU UPJN

•  Mr S R Sachan, Regional Officer, UPPCB

•  Mr U C Tiwari, GM, Jal Sansthan

•  Dr B R Singh, CMO office, Kanpur

•  Mr K B Varshney, Executive Engineer, KNN

•  Dr Vinod Tare, IITK

•  Dr Binayak Rath, IITK

•  Dr Padma S Vankar, IITK

•  Mr Pradyot Raja, IITK

•  Mr N C Sahu, IITK

•  Mr R N Mahapatra, IITK

•  Mr Dinesh Bahadur Singh, IITK

•  Mr Vikas Katiyar, IITK

•  Dr A N Tiwari, HOD, Department of Agronomy, CSA

•  Dr R K Trivedi, Director, AITH, Kanpur

•  Mr Shashikant Chopde, WII, New Delhi

•  Mr Anil Kumar, Department of Environment, New Delhi

•  Mr Sonelal Yadav, Pyondi village

•  Mr Umakant Yadav, Corporator, Ward no. 9

•  Dr M A Baig, RIS, New Delhi

•  Mr R K Jaiswal, Eco Friends

•  Mr Jeetendra Dixit, Eco Friends

•  Mr Sanjeev Pal, Eco friends

•  Mr Rishe Tiwari, Eco Friends

•  Mr Krishna Murti Sharma, Eco Friends

Proceedings of the first meeting (July 19, 2004) of Consultative Action Group on Urban Wastewater use and its impact on Livelihoods, Health and Environment in Kanpur.

THE FORUM FOR ACTION FOR CLEAN WATER was initiated 3 months ago. Solving the impacts of major issues of water contamination on health, environment and livelihood is the major goal of the forums. More than 35 people attended the meet including representatives from Winrock International India, New Delhi , S P Mishra, Municipal Commissioner, F U Rahman of Project Planning and Coordination Unit, GAP Support Project, Dr R K Trivedi, Director, AITH, Yadav of CPCB along with Research Scientists and Water Experts attended the forum.

Mr Vinay Tandon of Winrock International stressed the increased demands for clean water resulting in an increase of wastewater. He added that the health and environmental impact on soil, groundwater, livelihood and crops results from inadequate treatment facilities.

An overview of the present situation in Kanpur was presented by Rakesh Jaiswal, Executive Secretary of Eco Friends. He informed the participants that the problem of groundwater being contaminated from industries has been known since 1997. In Noraiakheda, industries get clean water from deep bore well while the residents of Noraiakheda drink contaminated groundwater from shallow wells.

Dr Elizabeth Guillette, University of Florida , USA presented the impact of contaminated water on four villages of Jajmau. Research performed by Eco Friends shows that crop production has gone down approximately 50% since the introduction of irrigation water mixed with tannery effluent. Dr Elizabeth's research shows that every household has someone with skin disease, resulting from Chromium exposure and gastric pain, diarrhea, dysentery and various tape and round worms resulting from contaminated water. The frequent presence of infection and Asthma indicates that the immune system has been affected. The result also shows that over one third of pregnancies never result in a live child.

Presentations were followed by general discussions on ways to remediate the existing situation. Central Pollution Control Board recognizes that untreated water should not be used for crop production. F U Rahman of PPCU stated that Tannery technology changes so rapidly that method for effluent treatment becomes outdated. He also added that either the tannery effluent should be treated properly or its supply for irrigation should be stopped.

All participants agreed that dilution is not the solution to reduce the presence of toxicants. Spreading of diluted toxicants on a land has resulted in groundwater contamination. Dr A C Shukla, Water Expert proposed specific agenda need to be developed for specific problems. He said that failures are inherent as we are experimenting with various methods to remediate the problems. Therefore we must learn from the best method. Lalit Khanna, Vice President, JK White Cement said the situation is very complex and requires understanding of each issue.

Municipal Commissioner S P Mishra assured to extend full cooperation to the Consultative Action Group in its efforts. He also assured to take initiative to ensure safe drinking water to the residents of Noraiakheda and Jajmau villages.

The forum ended with recommendations that end users will be invited to attend the next meetings to provide their insights.

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