India’s largest cities have large, centralized sewerage systems with vast underground pipelines, pumping stations and huge treatment plants. These systems are expensive to build and even more expensive to operate as they require continuous power, skilled operators and extensive electromechanical maintenance. It is for this reason that India’s 7,000+ smaller towns (most urban and periurban areas across the world for that matter) do not have such systems.
In the absence of proper sanitation, many Indian cities are on the verge of drowning in their own sewage. According to a Central Pollution Control Board report, less than 50% of the urban seweragesystems work effectively in India. Sewage has clearly been identified as the leading polluter of water sources in India, causing a host of diseases including diarrhoea (which kills 350,000 children each year), agricultural contamination and environmental degradation.