The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), together with European partners and the Paper Manufacturer’s Association, organized a first of its kind industry workshop in the northern town of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), September 6, 2016. The objective of the workshop was to share best practices from Europe and India, focussed to address the waste water challenges of the Hindon River, as a demonstration case for the Ganga Basin tributary approach that the 2030WRG is supporting in India.
The workshop brought together global and local experts to discuss the future needs for sustainable water reuse by the local paper and sugar industry.
Speaking about the success of the workshop, Mr. Pankaj Aggarwal, Chairman Muzzafarnagar Paper Manufacturers Association said: “The workshop provided an opportunity for local stakeholders in the water sector in Muzaffarnagar to engage with global experts in waste water treatment, share their challenges and showcase the progress being made in operating existing effluent treatment plants within the paper mills.”
The Ganga River Basin is one of the largest and most polluted river basins in the world today. Flowing through the Yamuna, into the Ganga River, the Hindon tributary is a major source of water for western U.P., India’s most populated state with over 200 million inhabitants. The 300 km long river is heavily polluted with untreated waste water from domestic and industrial sources that include nearly 300 paper and sugar mills. The National Green Tribunal has issued strict orders exhorting the state government to take immediate action to halt the pollution of Hindon River.
The EU has recently signed a MoU with the Government of India to share best practices, technologies and technical cooperation in the water sector. 2030 WRG is helping operationalize the EU-India Water Partnership by creating concrete linkages with stakeholders in the Hindon basin, specifically among European experts in water treatment technologies and processes, to address the challenges of industrial pollution in one of the most polluted towns of the Hindon basin.
Experts from India, including FICCI, close to 40 local paper and sugar mill owners, Council for Science and Industrial Research, India Water Partnership and SustainAsia shared experiences and challenges. European experts came from UNESCO-IHE, VITO from Belgium, the European Innovation Partnership on Water Reuse and Recycling, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and Institute of Ecopreneurship. Discussions revolved on leveraging the EU experiences to address the larger challenges facing the future growth and sustainability of the paper mills. Ideas were shared on how the paper industry could comply with the Indian Government’s ‘Zero Liquid Discharge’ charter by April 2017 by reusing and recycling water, possibly for agricultural purposes. The Central Pollution Control Board, in consultation with the local industries, developed this charter to help reduce the untreated industrial discharge into the Ganga Basin.
As a follow up to the workshop 2030 WRG, the EU Indigo Policy project, FICCI and Muzaffarnagar Paper Manufacturer’s Association are developing a demonstration project to help reduce the industrial water consumption and discharge into the river. This project is expected to contribute to the wider knowledge base and industry responses from about 200 pulp and paper factories spread across the Ganga Basin. Lessons will apply to other industrial sectors that are facing stringent pollution control requirement.