Sentencing public officials for preventing flow of pollutants into a river

Indian rivers are filthy, with frequent reports of how the level of contaminants in the rivers of the country (including the holy rivers) is much (many times) over the levels that are fit for humans to even bathe in, forget drinking. As an example, the Yamuna is now considered to be of the same level as a drain in Delhi; at its entry into Delhi, it is bad for human consumption, and by the time it leaves the capital, it is so saturated with filth and pollution that it is considered dangerous to humans. In the last 1-2 years, there have numerous articles about how all the major rivers are India are facing the same level of pollution. In Punjab, the Sutlej had a huge number of fish suddenly dying because of the uncontrolled release of effluents.
Is the situation treatable ? Apparently not if one goes by the efforts undertaken by the Governments (both central and state). What has happened that huge amounts have been spent in the name of of Ganga and Yamuna Pollution control, and yet the rivers have only got more polluted. Refer this article (link) and you can see how the levels of pollution in rivers has increased drastically in the last decade.

In just over a decade, India’s major rivers have been desecrated. Urban filth and industrial pollution are scientific causes, but what drives them is personal greed and administrative indifference. Environmentalists believe that apart from industrial pollution and sewage, the increase in number of slaughterhouse, dhobi ghats, crematoria and slums are the major sources of pollution in these rivers. Every year, religious idols are immersed in rivers which lose a little more of their life as they are choked yet again.

There are so many reasons as to why rivers can have a high level of pollution, but as the example of many western countries have shown, pollution levels can go down drastically if effective measures are taken.
– Drains flowing into the river should not be open, but treatment should happen and then the treated water should be let into the river. Here, the sewage treatment is either not done or is only partial
– Idol immersion / dead items immersion. During festivals, idols laden with chemicals are immersed. Similarly, half burnt bodies of humans and animals are thrown
– Industrial pollutants are allowed to flow unchecked into the rivers

Why all this background ? Well, in what could be a remarkable judgment (if not over-turned), a Thane court has ordered imprisonment for 4 municipal officials for preventing pollutants from flowing into the Vasai Creek. The gentlemen were prosecuted for dereliction of duty, and for the civic agency not setting up a sewage treatment plant. Of course, the poor gentlemen were not to blame, since they were only doing what so many civic officials before them have been doing. If this judgment is allowed to stand, then many other officials would be in the firing lane in every state.
Refer this article.

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