“Pollution in Ganga on the rise [Patna]” by Dipak Mishra, Times of India
By Dipak Mishra – Times of India
June 5, 2007
PATNA: The pollution of Ganga has been increasing rapidly. According to Bihar State Pollution Control Board, the Coliform (a kind of bacteria) count in Ganga water has increased almost nine-fold in the last three years.
In Patna upstream (Digha Ghat), it was 1890 per 100 ml in 2004. In 2006, the number increased to 14.962 per 100 ml. In Patna downstream (Gai Ghat) the Coliform count was just 4870 per 100 ml in 2004. Two years on, the count increased to 38,292 per 100 ml. If CM Nitish Kumar has expressed concern over the way sewerage is discharged in Ganga, he has reasons to be concerned. There are three sewerage treatment plants in Patna – at Saidpur, Pahari and Beur – having a capacity to treat 105 million litre sewerage per day assuming the three plants function normally. The actual amount of sewerage discharge in Ganga between Kurji and Patna City Mor Nala through 29 drains in estimated to be 190.47 million litre per day.
“There is a gap. Even if sewerage treatment is as per prescribed norms, it contributes to the pollution in the river,” said member-secretary of the state pollution control board Dr S N Rao. Pointing out that pollution of a river is a relative term, Dr Rao said: “Drinking water from the river without any treatment is not acceptable. It would be safe to take bath in Ganga provided the dilution of discharged sewerage water takes place to the desired level. But unfortunately it does not happen in Patna,” Dr Rao said.
“The increase in the pollution level has led to increase in skin diseases of people taking a dip in the Ganga,” said Neeraj Jha, a environment activist. Pointing out that around 85 million litres per day was being discharged in the Ganga in Patna without any treatment, he said the increase in the pollution levels in Ganga had badly hit aquatic flora and fauna in the river.
“In the 1970s, there were 10,000 species of flora and fauna found in Ganga here. Now only about 2,500 species survive”, he added. The Ganga Action Plan appears to have failed to have the desired effect even after pumping in Rs 55 crore in the phase-I. The plan had visualised construction of baths and toilets in all the ghats. It is no wonder that a assembly panel remarked that it was unfortunate that the responsibility of keeping the Ganga clean lies on an inefficient organisation like Bihar Jal Parishad.