Water quality of river Ganga shows the presence of bacterial contamination besides traces of pollutants like heavy metals and pesticides, says the apex pollution monitoring body CPCB.
In a detailed report covering various aspects of contamination in the river, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has informed the National Green Tribunal that the Ganga, spanning a distance of 543 km between Haridwar and Kanpur, was affected by 1,072 seriously polluting industries which are releasing heavy metals and pesticides.
“Before many years/centuries, the river was not blocked for any purpose and due to limited habitation on the bank of the river, hardly there was disposal of any waste into the river. Now, the River Ganga is blocked/dammed at many places (upper Himalayan stretches and on the plains such as Haridwar, Bijnor, Narora and Kanpur) and water has been diverted for various uses. As a result, the water quality and ecological sanctity is threatened.
“Water quality of River Ganga is showing presence of bacterial contamination besides reporting of presence of trace pollutants like heavy metals and pesticides in some of the studies,” CPCB said in the report filed in pursuance to the NGT’s September 6 order.
At present, 823.1 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage and 212.42 MLD of industrial effluent flows into the river while three of the four monitored Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) were non-compliant with the set standards, it said.
With regard to Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) by industries, CPCB said it has already directed them to achieve ZLD in distillery, tannery and textile units as it was mandatory that pollutants like chromium, total dissolved solid and other chemicals are separated before they are disposed of.
“All the industries discharging industrial effluents should transmit online data of their effluent quality on uninterrupted basis to CPCB and SPCBs. These industries should also submit fortnightly data of effluent quality based on samples collected manually and getting it analysed through laboratory recognised under Environment Protection Act,” it said.
On the issue of sewage management, the NGT was informed that at present 823.1 MLD sewage was being discharged without treatment directly into the river and the gap will be fulfilled after construction of proposed STPs.
“30 storm water drains carrying sewage and sullage (waste water) and other wastes joining Ganga at various locations, should have flow measuring systems at the terminal points for assessing the quantity of waste water being discharged.
“The identified 30 sewage carrying drains joining Ganga should be hygienically maintained and properly dredged at regular intervals. Dredged material should be disposed off properly without having any environmental impacts,” it said.
With regard to water quality assessment, the pollution monitoring body said that keeping in view that water quality of Ganga indicates presence of high number of fecal coliform bacteria monitoring of water quality of the river at various locations would be carried out on regular basis and monthly data be published on its website.
“Till full-fledged STP are set-up, concerned bodies should set up temporary treatment systems within next six months to reduce existing pollution load,” it said.
CPCB said that on experimental basis, UP Irrigation Department will release some more quantity of water into Ganga from Narora barrage and monitor whether it has any consequences on other users like farmers.
“The Irrigation Department will submit fortnightly report to the Ministry of Water Resources indicating the quantity of water released and quantity of water flowing in the river in various locations from Narora to Kanpur,” it said.
The green panel had divided the work of cleaning the river into different segments — Gomukh to Haridwar, Haridwar to Kanpur, Kanpur to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.
On December 11 last year, the tribunal had imposed a complete ban on use of plastic of any kind from Gomukh to Haridwar along the river from February 1 and decided to slap a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day on erring hotels, dharamsalas and ashrams spewing waste into the river.