The environment in and around Rihand reservoir, considered to be the largest manmade reservoir in the country, is getting damaged with high concentration of mercury, high pH, violations in fly ash disposal, ground water pollution with high fluoride concentration and so on.
Silicosis, fluorosis and excess mercury are affecting the health of the residents around Rihand in Singrauli area in both Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
These are some of the findings in the final report of the empowered core committee that was submitted by Central Pollution Control Board to the principal bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi on Monday during the hearing of a case filed by one advocate Ashwani Dubey.
A copy of the report was made available on Tuesday. The bench included justice Swatanter Kumar, chairperson, justice UD Salvi, justice MS Nambiar and expert members DK Agrawal and Ranjan Chatterjee.
Though Rihand dam is located in Sonbhadra district of UP, its reservoir Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar (Rihand) spans over 466 sq kms in MP and UP. The Rihand dam is built over river Rihand, a tributary of the Son river.
The petitioner, a Supreme Court lawyer told HT over phone that the core committee was constituted last year to assess the environmental and health impact of pollution due to industrial activities in and around Rihand Sagar, be it from thermal power plants or coal based industries. “I will go through the report which runs into several hundred pages after which I can decide whether I have any objections,” he said.
In its order, the bench stated that copy of the final report be provided to counsels from both sides and if there were any objections, the same be submitted within two weeks. The case has been listed for final arguments on September 29.
FINDINGS OF THE FINAL REPORT
The level of mercury concentration in ground water was found to be exceeding the limit of 0.001 milligram per litre in the samples collected from areas like Kirwani, Parasi, Harrahwa, Naktu, Chilkadand and so on.
Fluorosis appears to be highly prevalent, especially in the two blocks of Chopan and Myorpure in UP.
Ground water in certain areas has been observed with high fluoride concentration like Govindpur, Kusmaha, Kakri, Sirsoti and so on.
The high pH (10.9) of the effluent being discharged in Dongia Nallah in UP indicates improper treatment of effluent by the industries in the area.
More than 3,000 acres along the Rihand reservoir has been occupied for disposal of flyash by thermal power plants of NTPC, Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (UPRVUNL), Lanco Power and Hindalco Industries Ltd in the Singrauli region. Most of the ash ponds have attained their maximum height and reached their saturation and therefore have no further augmentation capacity for disposal of ash slurry. The situation will be worse in the next five years.
The disposal of ash in the ash ponds along the Rihand reservoir leads to silting of the reservoir in case of non-compliance of ash pond overflow discharge limit or any breach in ash dyke
The treated water from reverse osmosis (RO) plants installed in Bajrang Nagar, Dibulganj and Parsavar-raja was found to be exceeding the permissible limits for aluminum, iron, mercury, cadmium and nickel, which shows that RO plants installed are not capable of removing the trace metals from water.