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Prelims Capsule


Prashant ki Vyatha’ | A satirical Representation of Degradation of Rivers & Oceans

Prashant ki Vyatha’ | A satirical Representation of Degradation of Rivers & Oceans


  • GS 3 || Environment || Environment & Ecology || Pollution

Why in the news?

Degradation of Rivers & Oceans

Steps taken by India to tackle pollution:

  • Indian government initiated the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in 1985 to clean up the Ganga River.
  • GAP was later applied to other rivers in the Ganga basin, including all other Indian rivers.
  • Today, under what is now known as the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), India ‘s flagship water pollution clean-up program, 190 cities in 20 states along 41 rivers are governed.
  • The steps taken by the Government to address the issues of River pollution include the following:-
    • Preparation by State Governments of an action plan on waste management and water quality conservation of aquatic resources;
    • Installation of online effluent monitoring system to track effluent discharges directly into the rivers and water bodies;
    • Establishment of monitoring network for water quality assessments; Action to comply with effluent standards is taken by SPCBs / PCCs to improve the water quality of the rivers;
    • Financial assistance for the installation of Common Effluent Treatment Plants for Small Scale Industrial Unit Clusters; issuance of Zero Liquid Discharge Implementation Guidelines;
    • Implementation of the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) and the National Wetland Conservation Program (NWCP) to protect and maintain identified lakes and wetlands in the country combined in an integrated National Plan scheme for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) to undertake various conservation activities including interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater, pollution abatement, lake beautification, biodiversity conservation, education and awareness creation, community participation etc.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT)

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has established a Central Monitoring Committee to prepare and enforce a national plan to chair the pollution control board on over 350 stretches of river. The Committee will also work with the states’ River Rejuvenation Committees and oversee the implementation of the president of the pollution control board.
  • Studies suggest that providing clean water supply and sanitation to the whole of India would save $3-8 billion by way of forgone earnings.
  • The GAP has yet to show measurable results: while India aims to clean its rivers by 2030, the goal appears to be difficult to achieve, as the government’s own data shows that the number of polluted stretches of rivers across the country has risen in recent years.

Situation of World Rivers and other sites

  • Many sites with unsafe levels of the drugs contained more than one antibiotic.
  • Thames: High levels of Ciprofloxacin (treats infection of the skin and urinary tract).
  • Danube: High levels of Clarithromycin (used to treat respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis).
  • Bangladesh: Very high level of Metronidazole (used to treat vaginal infections).
  • The most commonly found one was Trimethoprim (used to treat urinary-tract infections).
  • Other commonly found antibiotic was


Measures are urgently required to revive the many dying rivers in India, protect their agriculture and prevent polluted water from severely harming public health. Sustained pressure on governments from civil society is essential to ensure this is achieved in a time-limited manner. India is already threatened by a water crisis. State and community ought to be taking a constructive role.

Mains oriented question:

“Polluted rivers and disturbance of ecosystem of the river in India reflect the failure of society and governance at local and national level.” Comment.