No water quality data from pollution board for six months
The Maharashtra pollution control board (MPCB) has not uploaded the monthly water quality bulletin for coastal and inland water bodies of the state, on their website since November 2017.
In 2016, the central pollution control board made it mandatory for all state pollution control boards to monitor and upload monthly water quality data on their respective websites so that information is available in the public domain. This is one of the mandates under the centre’s national water quality monitoring programme (NWQMP).
On May 16, a Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Watchdog Foundation filed a complaint with the chief secretary, Maharashtra government and MPCB, highlighting the issue.
“The state pollution control board has failed to update the water quality data, which points to a dismal state of affairs of the government body. The quantity and quality of fish and other marine life is in an abysmal state owing to coastal pollution. The only source of information about the toxicity in the fish we consume comes from MPCB and it is currently not being provided to the public,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watchdog Foundation.
He added that experts had alleged time and again that MPCB data may not be reliable as the magnitude of the pollution level in the water bodies could be much higher than actually recorded. MPCB officials said that lack of manpower and software issues had led to the delay in uploading the data. “ Water quality monitoring is being carried out by us every month. However, owing to modifications in the software that we are using and the lesser number of people working on it, the process is taking time. It is expected to be uploaded soon,” said YB Sontakke, joint director (water quality), MPCB.
In the monthly e-bulletin published in September 2017, Pune’s water bodies cut a sorry figure. While data was collected from 188 water quality monitoring stations from across the state, seven stations recorded ‘bad’ water quality while six stations recorded ‘bad to very bad’ water quality. Four monitoring stations in Pune recorded bad quality water, scoring between 38 and 50 in the water quality index (WQI).
The annual report titled, water quality status of Maharashtra 2016-2017, published in November 2017, is the latest report by MPCB on water quality in the state. The report covers 228 surface water quality monitoring stations across the state, which includes 28 from the Pune district.
The average water quality in the district once again falls within dangerous levels with 17 stations recording ‘bad’ water quality on average between April 2016 and March 2017. Ten stations had surface water quality in the ‘medium to good category’ while one station monitoring the water quality at Khadakvasla dam recorded ‘good to excellent’ water quality.