The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), in its annual report has held that high levels of fecal matter resulting from open defecation is one of the major causes of river pollution in the coastal state. The report comes in the backdrop of the recent announcement made by Goa Governor Mridula Sinha to make the state open defecation free by October 2, 2019–150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Board monitored 52 water bodies in the state for the period of April 2016 to March 2017 under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWMP), the report said. The experts during this period, analysed water samples collected from Tiracol, Chapora, Kalna, Mhadei, Valvanti , Bicholim, Assnora, Sinquerim, Khandepar, Mandovi, Mapusa, Zuari, Sal, Talpona and Kushawati rivers.
The report also states that water samples from lakes at Anjuna, Mayem, Carambolim, Salaulim, Raia, Saipem and Curtorim were also collected periodically. “A total of 565 samples were collected from all these water bodies and analysed during the year, out of which 489 samples were analysed for 27 parameters, 24 samples for four parameters, and 76 samples for micro pollutants,” it said.
The water sample data was interpreted using the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) standards prescribed for river classification based on the designated best use of the water body. “From the water quality data analysis it is found that fecal coliform level in rivers of Mapusa, Mandovi, Sal and Zauri do not meet the prescribed CPCB standards. Also, total coliform exceedance in water samples of rivers Bicholim and Valvanti was observed throughout the year,” the report said. The Board has noted that the high fecal coliform in water bodies is a result of open defecation and release of sewage.