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Aquatic Bin Corner

IMAGEWe at GT are celebrating water on World Water Day, observed on March 22. Here’s unlocking the activity box on river pollution to astound you, make you take notice and do something about rivers’ abuse.

A. My city’s river! Umm… Has it survived?

Traditionally, cities, towns and even villages settled keeping in view the water requirements and it would not be a gross generality to say that most of the cities and towns are actually settled alongside rivers, rivulets, lakes or other water bodies. Fresh water was taken from upstream and the waste given out downstream.

Rivers have an intrinsic capacity to clean themselves but this capacity was overloaded when cities grew in size and the amount of waste dumped into the rivers went up.
 

The Water Investigator

• Find out the river/rivulet that flows next to your city/town or village. If there isn't one, you are sure to find a lake in your city. Put down the name of the river/rivulet/lake/water body of your region.

 

 

• Many people live in cities by rivers but, unfortunately, not many of us have really seen our city river up close or touched the water of the river. Visit the river in your city. Talk to your parents or people around and find out where the water in the river/lake comes from? (Obviously it comes from upstream!)

 

• Does your city/town get its water from the same river/lake? (You may have to call the agency which supplies water to your house to find this out.)

 

• Where does the wastewater of your city end up? Call up the Municipal Corporation or better still trace the water from your home to the colony – out of the town.

 
IMAGEB. Flushing Shame

While industries and people throwing garbage are obviously sources of pollution, nearly 80 percent of river pollution in India is due to excreta! And who is responsible for all this? Not those who defecate in the open because they have no access to toilets but those who have toilets – the middle class and the affluent. This is because with every flush we use more and more clean water to dispose our faeces and urine (over 10 litres), thus, increasing the quantity of sewage.

So, the rivers are full of this muck. What say? So, the next time you do a campaign in a slum near a river, remember, it’s your colony that needs a campaign — to make people aware of the ill effects of flushing. Many people are now working at toilets which do not require water for flushing.

IMAGEThe Water Investigator

Go to the toilet of your house and measure the volume of your flush tanks:

Volume of flush tank no. 1 =
 

Volume of flush tank no. 2 =
 

Volume of flush tank no. 3 =
 

On one holiday, when you are at home, find out how many times people flush in a day and find out the total amount of water used.

Number of times the flush was used =

 

Total water flushed = Number of times the flush was used X volume of flush tank =

 

Now, based on an estimate of the number of people in your colony you can actually estimate the amount of water going down the sewage drain in your colony.
 

 

Go to a nearby shop that sells sanitary fittings for toilets and bathrooms and ask them if they have any equipment which uses less water? How does it work?
 

 

IMAGEC. Sewage Smart

Logically, all the sewage from the colonies need to go to units called the Sewage Treatment Plants or STPs. The sewage is treated here before being released into the river so that the river is spared the pollution load. But there are a few problems here. Firstly, there are not enough STPs to treat the sewage generated by the city and secondly, even the existing STPs aren't able to do much as there are problems in transporting the sewage to these units.

The Water Investigator

It would be a good idea to actually visit a STP in your city/town. Call up the municipal body and find out the location of the STP and note down its telephone number. Call up the manager of the STP and tell them that you would like to visit. You can also ask your teacher to arrange a visit to the STP.

1. Where is the STP located? (near the river or in a place far away)

 

2. Speak to the engineer on site and ask the following questions:

What is the total capacity of the STP?
 

 

How is the sewage that reaches the plant treated? (The various stages)
 

 

3. Make sure you have a look at the point where the sewage enters the plant and the point where it is disposed off into the river or a nearby water body. Find out the number of STPs in your town/city
 

 

Source: A Book of Activities: Climate Change Natural Resources, Centre for Science and Environment
 

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