Effluents released from the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) in Dombivli (east) are polluting the Ulhas River, which drains into the Thane creek, according to an independent water sample analysis by non-profit organisation Vanashakti.
Samples collected from drains, culverts and the Ulhas creek close to Dombivli MIDC’s common effluent treatment plant (CETP) outlets show that effluents are depleting oxygen levels in the water, increasing alkalinity, and affecting aquatic life.
Water samples were collected from Khambalpada culverts, drainage near Khambalpada CETP-1 and from the nullah near CETP-2 over the last two months. The Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) for the samples from Khambalpada was more than 1,000 milligrams/liter. As per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) standards, 100 mg/l is the safe BOD limit. High BOD levels indicate depletion of oxygen that chokes higher forms of aquatic life such as fish. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) levels were as high as 4,100 mg/liter — 16 times the safe limit — while the pH or alkalinity was 8, also very high.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board’s (MPCB) CETP water analysis at Dombivli MIDC for the month of April pegs the average BOD levels at 176.18 mg/l, while the average COD level is only 478.8 mg/l. Activists said that effluents released from CETP are polluting the Ulhas River, which provides water for Ambernath and Ulhasnagar.
“MPCB never carries out any surprise tests to check the levels of pollution. Since Monday is fixed as the sample collection day, industries start diluting their effluents heavily to distort test results. These have a direct effect on drinking water in the Ulhas River and on the aquatic life in the Thane Creek,” said Ashwin Aghor, project officer, Save Ulhas River Project, Vanashakti.
When asked why no surprise tests are carried out, Bharat Nimbarte, joint director, water pollution control, MPCB, said, “Following court orders, MPCB had decided to fix one day to collect water samples. We have not received any recent complaints on pollution in Dombivli, but we will look into it.”