Rivers in western Uttar Pradesh dangerously polluted

Updated on Jan 24, 2010 08:50 AM IST

Six rivers in western Uttar Pradesh, including the Yamuna, are now so polluted that they should be classified as dead, says a new study.

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HT Image
IANS | By, Meerut

Six rivers in western Uttar Pradesh, including the Yamuna, are now so polluted that they should be classified as dead, says a new study.

The study, carried out by local NGO Neer Foundation as part of a project of the World Water Monitoring Day Organisation, found that six of the rivers they checked were so heavily polluted that no life could exist in them, and they were dangerous even to bathe in.

The World Water Monitoring Day Organisation has been set up by the World Environment Federation of the US and the International Water Association of the Netherlands. The two agencies are carrying out water purity surveys in rivers across the world. The project started in 2007 and is likely to end by 2012.

The study in India was helped by several thousand children from 800 schools across western Uttar Pradesh.

The project's coordinator, Raman Tyagi of Neer Foundation, said the condition of the six rivers was "deadly alarming".

Apart from the Yamuna, the rivers are Hindon, Krishni, Kali East, Kali West and Dhamola.

The study was conducted in Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Gautam Budh Nagar, Etah, Aligarh and Agra districts.

"We had collected more than 70 samples between June and November 2009 from rivers at various places. The results were deadly alarming and eye-opening and we never expected that the pollution would rise that much," Tyagi said.

The samples were checked for turbidity, dissolved oxygen, temperature and degree of acidity (pH value).

Turbidity -- that indicates the lack of clarity of water -- was found to be around 100 Jackson Turbidity Units (JTU) in these rivers. The US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) says a turbidity level above 40 JTU is dangerous.

In many places, the water had no dissolved oxygen at all, so no life could exist there and the river was effectively dead, the study found.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says dissolved oxygen level in river water should be at least eight parts per million.

The water was found to be highly alkaline, with a pH value between 9-10. A pH value of 7 indicates the water is neutral, and the US EPA says the pH of river water should be between 6.5 and 7.5.

"The temperature of the water in these rivers was also found to be very high. The US and Dutch agencies were shocked to learn of such high values in our rivers. The clarity of water at most of these places was almost zero," Tyagi said.

"There were large quantities of industrial and toxic waste from chemical, paper and other factories, and that was why the dissolved oxygen level was zero. Aquatic life in these rivers is dying."

The Hindon river is a 260-km-long tributary of the Yamuna; it starts in Saharanpur. The Krishni, about 78 km long, also starts in Saharanpur and flows till Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh. The Kali East rises in Muzaffarnagar and flows 300 km before ending in Kannauj. The Kali West flows from Saharanpur and ends in Meerut after flowing for 75 km. The 52-km-long Dhamola river flows mostly in Saharanpur district.

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