India treats just a fifth of its sewage
Few visitors to the subcontinent will be surprised by the revelation from India’s Vice President, Hamid Ansari, that just 20 percent of the country’s sewage is treated, complicating the cities battle by Indian cities for water resources.
“To quench their ever-increasing thirst, India’s expanding cities have started sourcing water from further and further away,” said Ansari. “This has pushed up the cost of water, increased leakages to around 40 percent and sparked conflicts.”
Shortages of clean water in India, the second most-populated country after China, have led to agricultural, industrial and domestic clashes with struggles over water supplies expected to escalate, according to a United Nations Children’s Fund report this year. Most cities lack policy on how to remedy the disposal of raw sewage in water bodies, according to a study by the Centre for Science and Environment.
“There is a serious lack of foresight in urban sewage and wastewater management in our country,” Ansari said. “Untreated sewage is killing our water. Indian cities produce nearly 40,000 million liters of sewage per day, enough to irrigate 9 million hectares and barely 20 pecent of this is treated."
He said the untreated waste water was seeping into water sources, "thereby creating a ticking health bomb amongst our people".