The save Sabarmati movement is gradually gaining momentum, with Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) chairman Keshav Verma admitting that cleaning the river is a challenge. The Sabarmati River, it’s now being held, should be treated like a lake.
In an editorial for a leading English daily, Varma said, “This used to be a dead river in terms of oxygen. Now we have an average of 7 per cent oxygen in the river. Nature is conveying that river is relatively clean with fishes coming back. I agree that the river is not entirely clean and that is a challenge because it is not a perennial river, it has to be treated like a lake.”
Varma responded to the November 2022 report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) tabled in the Lok Sabha which categorised the Sabarmati River as the second most polluted river in India.
While he believed that maintaining the quality of the river would be an onerous task, efforts were being made to get more skimmers and clean it. Varma added that the return of birds was proof that the river’s water quality had improved.
Varma was of the view that technology could be leveraged to ramp up cleaning efforts in the river. The chief concern, he highlighted, was untreated sewage that was getting into the river.
He said that the AMC commissioner had initiated action to ensure that sewage treatment was done in the right manner. Municipal Commissioner M Thennarasan was quoted as saying that whatever was released in the river satisfied all parameters.
Varma was confident that the Sabarmati River would reach the desired hygiene levels, though it would take time. In the article, he said, “I don’t see that happening immediately. We have to wait for four-five years till all the STPs are functioning and we flush the river well and clean it up.”
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