Dissolved oxygen level in Ghaziabad stretch of Hindon improves to 5-year high, says UPPCB

Sep 15, 2023 12:18 AM IST

The quality of water in the Hindon River in Ghaziabad has improved due to heavy monsoon rains and recent flooding, resulting in higher levels of dissolved oxygen. However, downstream locations still show low levels of dissolved oxygen. The increase in dissolved oxygen is seen as a positive development but its sustainability remains uncertain. The absence of dissolved oxygen in upstream areas may be due to oxygenation as the water flows downstream.

The quality of water in river Hindon in Ghaziabad district has improved considerably with the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the months of July and August becoming the highest since 2018, officials of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said, while attributing the better water quality to the long spell of monsoon this year and the recent flooding of the river.

 (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

According to data compiled by the UPPCB, the average DO level, during the period from January to August 2023, at Karhera sampling point stood at 2.33mg/litre, which is the highest eight monthly average since 2018. The month of August recorded a level of 4.8mg/l, which is the highest for any month since January 2018, said pollution control board officials.

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The sampling point in Mohan Nagar recorded an average DO of 2.54mg/l, during the eight month period from January to August 2023. In the month of August, the reading stood at 4.3mg/l, and both figures are the highest since 2018 at this point, said officials.

According to officials, a DO level of 5mg/l or above is an indicator of river water being healthy and such a level is fit for propagation of aquatic life.

The sampling location in Chhajarsi also recorded an average DO of 4.14mg/l between January and August this year and a level of 5.4mg/l in the month of August, said UPPCB officials, adding that the figure in August is the second highest in any month since January 2018, with the highest being recorded this January at 6.27mg/l.

However, the downstream location of Kulesra in Noida showed no presence of dissolved oxygen during the eight month period this year, showed the data.

Vikas Misra, UPPCB’s regional officer from Ghaziabad, said the “the increase in DO levels is a positive development” but declined to offer comment on whether the prolonged monsoon or the recent flooding led to improved DO levels.

“The improved DO levels indicate that the river is in good health and the increase can largely be attributed to rainfall in upstream areas and recent flooding which washed away impurities and pollutants. Since the pollutants got washed away, the DO has improved,” said Utsav Sharma, regional officer, UPPCB, Noida.

As regards the negligible DO in downstream Kulesra, Noida, Sharma said, “A majority of Hindon water is diverted to Hindon canal from the Hindon barrage in Ghaziabad and the flow reduces considerably in Hindon by the time it reaches Chhajarsi and further down to Kulesra. After Chhajarsi, two drains and sewage/drainage discharge from colonies along the floodplain pollute the river. So, the DO levels remain negligible at Kulesra sampling point.”

The UPPCB also said the DO level in upstream areas of Meerut and Saharanpur showed no improvement.

The UPPCB figures showed no presence of DO at Maheshpur sampling location in Saharanpur or at the downstream location of Sardhana-Budhana Road, village Baparsi in Meerut.

The DO makes reappears further downstream at Baghpat Road, Meerut, where it was recorded at 3.3mg/l during the first eight months of this year.

The officials of the UP irrigation department had earlier said that heavy rain in upstream Saharanpur district caused heavy flooding in river Hindon in Ghaziabad.

“If heavy rain led to flooding and better DO levels, then areas of Saharanpur/Meerut should have shown some presence of DO, which is not the case. The officials must explain this phenomenon as it appears that water was diverted to river Hindon from some other source and resulted in flooding in Ghaziabad areas. This must be inquired into,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city resident and an environment lawyer.

Vikrant Sharma, another city-based environmentalist, said that the improvement in DO is temporary.

“How long will this DO levels sustain is the big question. The answer will become apparent in the coming months when pollution from untapped drains and effluents start affecting the river again. The rise in DO is surely temporary,” Sharma said.

Sanjay Singh, the executive engineer of UP irrigation department did not respond to repeated calls.

But an official of the irrigation department said about 2,000 cusecs of fresh Ganga water from the Upper Ganga Canal system is released daily into river Hindon from Jani in Meerut.

“The absence of DO in upstream Saharanpur and Meerut may be due to the fact that water gets oxygenated as it flows downstream,” said the official from the irrigation department’s Okhla division, asking not to be named.

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    Peeyush Khandelwal writes on a range of issues in western Uttar Pradesh – from crime, to development authorities and from infrastructure to transport. Based in Ghaziabad, he has been a journalist for almost a decade.

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