311 polluted stretches along 279 rivers, watchdog finds | India News – Times of India


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PUNE: Maharashtra accounted for the highest number of polluted river stretches in the country at 55 in 2022, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said in its recent report identifying nearly 311 polluted stretches in a network of 279 rivers across India.
As per CPCB, Maharashtra is also one of the 13 states in the country where the number of polluted river stretches has increased, including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, among others. In 2018, it had 53 polluted river stretches, the organisation said.
A CPCB official told TOI, “The state pollution control boards have been directed to ensure mandatory ecological flow in all polluted stretches. Ecological flow pertains to the minimum flow needed to be maintained in a river to ensure optimum conditions for the existing ecosystems.”
He said the study was a periodic assessment of water quality of rivers in the country and measured exceeding levels of Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) in these stretches. “We identified polluted river stretches where water quality did not meet the primary BOD criteria for outdoor bathing. BOD in such stretches was more than 3mg/L.”
Higher BOD indicates requirement of more oxygen and signifies lower water quality. The official said all such river stretches were found polluted because of the discharge of sewage and industrial pollutants. “Of the sewage discharged in rivers, we found that quantum of untreated sewage way more than that of treated sewage. While factories have to mandatorily treat industrial effluents in effluent treatment plants (ETPs) before discharging them into the water bodies, most cities do not have the infrastructure for treatment of domestic sewage. This is one of the major causes for pollution in the rivers.” He said an action plan has been made and approved by CPCB to address this issue.
Water expert Himanshu Thakkar, who is also the coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, said, “Maharashtra is the most industrialised state and has numerous industries, which may be contributing to river pollution. Its considerable urban population has also put a lot of stress on the rivers, in terms of discharge of untreated domestic sewage into water bodies.”
Thakkar said polluted rivers can have a major impact on the aquatic life, flora and fauna in the rivers.
As a part of the monitoring exercise, the water quality of 56 rivers in Maharashtra was monitored by CPCB. As many as 147 locations on 55 rivers in the state did not comply with the prescribed water quality criteria in terms of BOD levels. The names of some polluted rivers included Amba, Amravati, Bhatsa, Bhima, Bindusara, Bori, Burai, Chandrabhaga, Koyna, Krishna, Kundalika, Manjeera and Mula-Mutha, among others.





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