Cleaning the Ganga river is one of the important flagship projects of the Modi sarkar. Its success will play a decisive role in the context of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Hindu dated October 22, 2017 published an informative news item under the title: “Is it difficult to clean up the Ganga?” A lot of valuable information was given in a concise form in this item. The following needs immediate attention because the electoral success of the BJP depends on the execution of this project.
“However, the big task - of installing sewage treatment plants - is grossly delayed. Barely Rs 2,000 crore out of the Rs 20,000 thousand crore has been spent so far. The Government says that it has taken time because it wanted to put in place an extremely transparent tendering process. It has also established a system called the hybrid-annuity model, used in commissioning highways, for selecting firms that will manage STPs.”
In fact, it is this bottleneck which calls for a solution through a totally out-of-the-box thinking.
I do not know how many people are aware of the fact that right here in our own country, an Indian inventor has found out a solution and what is more, demonstrated it at the industrial scale in the coffee estate of Bombay Dyeing of Nasir Wadia in Coorg.
The scientist is Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar.
Dr Vijay Kumar, an engineer, is the chief of the Organization de Scalene, a research set-up based in Bangalore. His unique solution is mind-blowing and sounds like magic. As has been said, all advanced technology looks like magic. I myself would not have believed it had I not personally visited the lab of Dr Vijay Kumar in Bangalore and interacted with him extensively.
Dr Vijay Kumar, a 100% Indian, holds 27 international patents. The basic principles of his solution to the problem of water pollution are listed below. The solution was to be applied for tackling the pollution problem in a 750-km-long river in Mexico from January 2015. In the Netherlands, this technology was applied to tackle the problems of big pharmacy companies that were stymied by the government ban on discharging their effluents in any water body.
WHAT IS POLLUTION?
Principle 1— In the ultimate analysis it is the suspension of particles of varying sizes from microns to nano in a medium –liquid or air. As the particles are electrically negative on the surface and positive at the centre, they repel each other. If the negative charge is neutralized by bombarding it with electromagnetic waves of 8 mega Hertz to 12 mega Hertz, they collapse and tend to form clots. This is called thrombosis. All of us are familiar with the problem of the clotting of blood in the arteries resulting in coronary thrombosis.
In short this is the heart of Dr Vijay Kumar’s technology. He named his machine as Aquatron or Fine Particle Shortwave Thrombolytic Agglomeration Reactor [FPSTAR]. He has in a sense managed to deliver a heart attack to the pervasive problem of pollution.
Just as the boiling of a tea kettle triggered James Watt’s mind to invent the steam engine in the 18th century, coronary thrombosis has triggered Dr Vijay Kumar’s mind for solving the pollution problem.
Principle 2— The second major principle of this technology is to focus on the problem in a decentralized fashion. All these years we have allowed the pollution problem to grow in size and taken note only after it became a giant. Dr Vijay Kumar’s approach is to nip the problem in the bud.
So far as the slums are concerned, Dr Vijay Kumar’s technology claims that within a period of four-six weeks, sewage water can be treated and brought up to pollution-free status and there will be no need for discharging the water into sewage system. The treated water can be recycled and used for gardening and other purposes. Dr Vijay Kumar claims that it can even be drinkable though there may be a certain level of squeamishness in making tea out of the treated sewage water.
So far as streams and rivers are concerned, there will be a need of installing reactors of appropriate sizes where the thrombosis of the polluted particles takes place and is further treated to make them free of toxicity.
There is a high degree of confidence in the timelines given and the results because this has already been demonstrated both on the Scalene campus in Bangalore and the coffee estate in Coorg. The international patent has been given after due scrutiny and diligence.
The next major step is that of scaling up and crossing the tipping point for the entire effort to take off on a massive scale. Looking to the various initiatives taken by the Modi Government it should not be difficult to systematically organize public-private participation, spanning the Central Government, State Governments, NGOs and activists. It will be one more demonstration of ultimately finding an eco-friendly, humane solution to a global threat. Thanks to the initiative of Al Gore, the inconvenient truth about environmental degradation has become conventional wisdom all over the world. The Indian solution to the Ganga problem can be the new beacon pointing the way to a bright future.
To ensure that industries like tanneries, textiles, paper and dyes which are on the riverbanks and cause pollution not only in the Ganga but other rivers are tackled, Dr Vijay Kumar has developed industry-specific solutions which have been demonstrated on the Scalene campus. Hence zero discharge from industries as well as cities and villages is something that can be realized effectively.
In other words, with this new vision there will be no need for massive pipelines, chemicals and huge investment.
A SUREFIRE STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS IN REALIZING NIRMAL/AVIRAL GANGA AND SWACHH BHARAT
Achieving success within a defined time period of say 20 years and making Nirmal/Aviral Ganga and Swachh Bharat a reality and not an ever receding dream calls for solving the following problems:
SEWAGE AND EFFLUENTS
Liquid waste polluting the Ganga is in two forms – sewage and effluents [industry and others]. Sewage amounts to 12,000 MLD and forms 80% of the quantity. Effluents amount to 3,000 MLD (20%). The most dangerous kind of pollution is in the liquid form when it comes to toxicity and damage to human and other forms of life. These are the effluents (industrial and otherwise).
Although the effluents constitute 20% in terms of quantity they are the cause of 80% of toxicity and damage. In the case of sewage there is no single point in governance at city /municipal levels. In many places there are no sewage networks. Even where they exist they may be old and ineffective.
When it comes to effluents, less than 30% of them are treated and that too very poorly. Water is treated as a free natural resource by the industry Hence there is no incentive to save on the quantity of water used.
MAINTAINING ECOLOGICAL AND GEOLOGICAL INTEGRITY OF THE GANGA
This can be achieved by ensuring that there is always a water flow in the river in terms of the environmental and geological flow. The environmental flow means the regime of flows, including sediments and other natural constituents to maintain the ecological integrity of a river and the goods and services provided by it are computed by the building (bigger) block method. Geologic entity is formed by ancient earth processes over geologic ages. In short, maintaining the environmental and geological integrity means ensuring environmental flows and preserving geological entity.
Fortunately as the Government launches the Nirmal/Aviral Ganga and Swachh Bharat programmes, we can visualize a surefire strategy for success. Basic technologies are available and utilizing them through an imaginative scheme involving public-private participation is very much in the realm of possibility.
This can be the main instrument for success. The reluctance of the polluters can be overcome by enacting laws to make it mandatory that polluters must pay.
That is not all. Even the reluctant ones can adopt a new Swadeshi technology developed by Dr Rajah Vijay Kumar. This is called FPSTAR and was awarded an international patent by the EU in December 2013. Any polluted water is a liquid medium in which fine particles are suspended. They are in the range of microns which have a negative charge on the surface. The unique feature of the technology is that it does not use any chemicals or radioactive material and cost-wise it is the cheapest among all the existing technologies so far as pollution treatment is concerned. While other technologies do not treat the problem of removing toxicity, this technology does. The technology is inspired by the same process which leads humans to suffer coronary thrombosis or myocardial infarction.
What about the sewage? This has to be funded by the Government as the State is responsible for ensuring infrastructure for public health. Innovative financial engineering like issuing Ganga bonds can be adopted.
These bonds can be like Kisan Vikas Patras introduced in the past. Any person can invest cash in these without being required to declare the source of funds. With minimum dependence on the Consolidated Fund of India the core of the Swachh Bharat and NIrmal/Aviral Ganga can be implemented.
MAINTAINING ECOLOGICAL AND GEOLOGICAL INTEGRITY
The application of the FPSTAR technology can help to use fresh water greatly. By fixing a market sensitive price for water the large user of fresh water may be incentivized to drastically reduce the amount of fresh water. This will make maintaining environmental and geological flows a manageable and tractable problem.
This proposal has already been submitted to the Ganga Basin Authority presided over by the Prime Minister.
With the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 looming ahead NOW is the time to give our Swadeshi technology a chance to prove itself.
What are we waiting for?