Ganga water unsafe even for bathing, says Bihar govt report on river pollution | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Ganga water unsafe even for bathing, says Bihar govt report on river pollution

Feb 26, 2024 07:42 PM IST

The WHO stipulates that river water with more than 1000MPN/100ml faecal coliform bacteria should not be used even for irrigating crops

Patna: Almost all major rivers passing through Bihar are unsafe even for bathing, revealed the annual survey report on health of rivers recently tabled by the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) in the state legislature.

The report, based on sample checks at 98 points of several rivers including Ganga, Sone and Kosi in 27 districts showed excessive presence of faecal coliform bacteria in water. (Representative image)
The report, based on sample checks at 98 points of several rivers including Ganga, Sone and Kosi in 27 districts showed excessive presence of faecal coliform bacteria in water. (Representative image)

The report, based on sample checks at 98 points of the rivers, including Ganga, Sone, Kosi, Bagmati, etc, in 27 districts showed excessive presence of faecal coliform bacteria in water. Water sample of Sirasia river at Raxaul yielded presence of around 2,40,000 most probable number (MPN)/100ml.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) norms stipulate that river water with more than 1000MPN/100ml faecal coliform bacteria should not be used even for irrigating crops, as uncooked agricultural produce could make people vulnerable to various kinds of diseases.

UC Samal, a internal medicine specialist and former Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) cardiology department head, said that swimming in water with high level of faecal coliform bacteria increases the chance of developing illness like fever, nausea or stomach cramps, if they entered through mouth, ears, nose or wounds. “Access intake of such water may also lead to typhoid, hepatitis, gastroenteritis and ear infection,” Samal said.

According to the BSPCB report, based on sample survey conducted until last December, samples of Ganga water carried 92,000 MPN/100ml faecal coliform bacteria (FCB) across its stretch from Buxar to Bhagalpur, barring Lakhisarai, where FCB count was recorded at 28,000. Likewise, Sone river water contained 35,000 FCB at Rohtas and 3,500 FCB at Arwal, while Gandak water had presence of 92,000 FCB at Saran and Vaishali, 54,000 at Muzaffarpur and 13,000 at Gopalganj.

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Water samples of other rivers like Burhi Gandak, Punpun, Kosi, Kamla, Bagmati, Ghaghra, Daha, Mahanand, Sikaharna, Ram Rekha, Harbora, Lakhandei, Parmar and Harha were found to be heavily contaminated by FCB. Samples of these rivers carried FCB in the range of 92,000 to 13,000 at different stretches.

“The state government has taken various initiatives to stop flow of untreated sewage and drain water directly in to the river Ganga and its tributaries in the state. Sewage treatment plants (STPs) and drain water management projects worth over 1200 crore have been either executed or in the process of completion. We hope that river water pollution could be checked to a large extent once these projects are complete,” said a senior officer of the BSPCB, who asked not to be named.

Another officer of the environment, forest and climate change department said that the BSPCB had been told to identify major sources of river pollution and prepare the next round of action plan. “The state government has allocated 4,000 crore, which was levied by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the state for its failure in scientifically managing liquid and solid waste, for the purpose of setting up more STPs,” said the officer.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Subhash Pathak is special correspondent of Hindustan Times with over 15 years of experience in journalism, covering issues related to governance, legislature, police, Maoism, urban and road infrastructure of Bihar and Jharkhand.

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