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Algal bloom in Ganga: Experts collect water samples in Varanasi

An expert team constituted by district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma to find out the cause of algal bloom in the Ganga in Varanasi did a spot inspection and collected samples of the river water on Tuesday, regional pollution control officer Kalika Singh said
By HT Correspondent, Varanasi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 08, 2021 10:49 PM IST

An expert team constituted by district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma to find out the cause of algal bloom in the Ganga in Varanasi did a spot inspection and collected samples of the river water on Tuesday, regional pollution control officer Kalika Singh said. The algal bloom had given the river a green look.

Besides Kalika Singh, the team comprises Ganga Pollution Control Unit general manager PC Agarwal, assistant commissioner of police (Dashashwamedh) Awadhesh Pandey and two other officials, the district magistrate said.

Sharma said, “The team will complete the investigation within three days and submit a complete factual investigation report, along with pictures and video clip of the Ganga (stretches having algal bloom), by June 10 evening. The team members will suggest options to solve the problem.”

Ganga conservation activist Rajesh Shukla said the algal bloom in the river in Varanasi was first seen around 20 days ago but it was washed away by rain after two days. The algal bloom returned around a week ago due to which the Ganga water looked green in certain stretches.

“But most of the algae has been washed away now. At present, only 10% of the algal bloom is left,” he said.

Prof Vijay Nath Mishra, neurologist at Banaras Hindu University who has also worked for the cause of the Ganga, said, “The Ganga’s flow is very slow due to which the water is nearly stagnant, causing the algal bloom. This bloom hinders the entry of the sun’s rays into the water. If the condition continues for long, the concentration of nitrate and phosphorus is most likely to increase in the water. It may be dangerous for aquatic animals.”

He said efforts should be made to increase the flow of water and a test should be done to find the cause of the algal bloom resurfacing in the Ganga.

“To the naked eye, it appears to be a bloom formed by an alga named microcystis. It is found in stagnant water. In the Ganga, it may have come from some side drains or stagnant sources during rain. It will disappear with the increasing flow of water. If the condition persists for long, it may cause fish mortality because the neurotoxin microcystin is produced by this alga, which is harmful to aquatic animals,” said Prof BD Tripathi, chairman of Mahamana Malviya Research Centre for Ganga, River Development and Water Resource Management (MMRC for Ganga), BHU.

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