ganga river

Ganga River Pollution Lockdown Period

Ganga River Pollution Lockdown Period

The pollution has been reduced in Holy River Ganga due to the enforcement of nationwide lockdown. Online monitoring data’s has been showing tremendous decrease in pollution level.

CPCB had installed the real time water quality monitoring systems at 36 diffrent location to monitor the water quality of River Ganga. These stations are showing significate improvement in water quality of river. Real time water quality of river ganga is available MoEF & CPCB portal link (Real Time Water Quality Monitoring of River Ganga)

Ganga emanates from Gangotri Glacier at Gaumukh and traverses 2525 km through Utrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal before mingle into the Bay of Bengal. The Ganga is uninterrupted and clean at mountains but when it reaches to plains the addition of water pollution starts.

Industries and city sewage both are the source of pollution, The Ganga receives polluted water directly and also by its tributaries. In the plains the major tributaries are Ramganga, Yamuna, Sai, Gomti, Ghaghara, Sone, Gandak, Kosi and Damodar.

Reason Behind improvement of Ganga River Water in Lockdown

The maximum industries are under shut down whether situated at near Ganga River or at its tributaries. Only sugar mills and distilleries are under operation because these are directly linked with farmers/sugar cane grower.  The alcohol produced by the distilleries is being utilized to manufacture sanitizer which is one of the most important weapon to fight against Covid-19.

Volume wise industrial pollution load is about 20%  but the threat is much more due to its nature. Industrial effluent contains variety of toxic elements, chemicals, biodegradable and non biodegradable pollutants.

So many types of industries like papermills, sugar mills, distilleries, pharmaceutical, tanneries, slaughter houses, food and beverage manufacturing and fertilizer industries are situated at Ganga Basin. The effluent generated from these industries having significant pollution load. The BOD, COD, TSS and other parameters are always on higher comparison to sewage.

So what does it means, is there pollution in the Ganges only from industries?

We can’t say that pollution in the Ganges only from industries,  maximum industries have installed effluent treatment facilities at their plant premises except few small scale industries. The monitoring agencies like Central Pollution Control Board and State Boards frequently inspect these industries to verify the quality of treated effluent. These authorities are taking strict action against the industries which are not complying the effluent quality standards.

The continuous on-line effluent quality monitoring systems has also installed by the grossly polluted industries and data’s are being monitored by the agencies. The third party monitoring are also being done by the top most institutes of India.

If the industries are working properly and the pollution monitoring authorities are inspecting regularly then why pollution reduced in lockdown, why not before? Something wrong. It points towards small scale industries, these industries may cause the pollution threat but the quantity of effluent from these are very less than compare to large industries.

Another important thing that the major polluting industries like sugar mills and distilleries are under operation. It seems that these have maintained their effluent treatment plants and recycling the treated effluent in process and maintaining complete zero liquid discharge.

It may happen that these industries were not participating in pollution of Ganga River because if they do then why not in lockdown period?

From where the pollution comes from in Ganga and why it reduced in lockdown?

Definitely the pollution is coming from industries and sewage. The sewage is also a major water pollution source,  about 12000 MLD sewage generated in Ganga basin out of which 4000 MLD treatment facilities are available. Source (National Mission for Clean Ganga) The treated, untreated both sewage enters in river Ganga and its tributaries and add water pollution.

The sewage is going to river in same way as it was going before lockdown, then it means that industrial effluent having more threat than sewage.

So can we blame other industries like papermills, pharmaceutical, tanneries, slaughter houses, food and beverage manufacturing and fertilizer industries, it won’t be right. But they are in doubt.  After lock down these industries should be monitored by the CPCB and state boards to evaluate the status of effluent management.

The hotels, restaurants, hospitals, printing and automobile service stations are also closed and during operation the effluent generated from these also goes to sewage and from sewage to river. The waste water generated from these have sufficient pollution load.

The kitchen wastewater generated from restaurants contains edible oil and grease, waste food materials, food additives, washing chemicals etc. These pollutants can increase the COD, BOD & TSS and other parameters of sewage which may affect the treatment ability of sewage treatment plant.

The star hotels and big hospitals have installed the wastewater treatment facilities and the effluent being discharged to sewer after treatment. The efficiency of their treatment facilities are also being verified by the monitoring agencies.

The printing and automobile service stations discharge their effluent in domestic sewerlines which also contributes to increase the pollution load. Few big service stations have installed the ETP but maximum are running without. The effluent generated from these contain oil and grease, washing chemical and paint.

Finally, the summery is that the health of Ganga River improved not only by the shut down of the major and minor industries but the closer of hotels, restuarants, hospitals, printing and automobile service stations are also have great impact. These services are equally responsible for water pollution because of their numbers and unplanned establishment.


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