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Pollution in Rivers of India

Water PollutionRivers in India are highly polluted and it is not an uncommon sight to find the water full of effluents, a common sight in the river Yamuna. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) along with State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) has been entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring water quality of rivers at 1275 locations on 445 rivers in 28 States and 6 Union Territories.

Based on Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) values (a key indicator for organic pollution), 150 river stretches on 121 rivers in the country have been identified by CPCB as polluted.

As per a study carried out by CPCB in 2009-10, against an estimated generation of nearly 38,254 million litres per day (mld) from Class-I cities and Class-II towns of the country, the treatment capacity is available only for 11,787 mld.

 As per the MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests), the desirable river water quality standards for bathing class are as under-

Parameter Criteria/standards
pH 6.5-8.5
Dissolved Oxygen (DO) 5 mg/l or more
BOD 3 mg/l or less
Faecal Coliform 500 MPN/100 ml (desirable)2500 MPN/100 ml (Maximum permissible)

 As per information available, the Central Water Commission monitors water quality at 390 key locations covering all the major river basins of India.

Under the National River Conservation Plan, following rivers in various states have been covered;

Sr. No.                 State River
1 Andhra Pradesh Godavari & Musi
2 Bihar Ganga
3 Delhi Yamuna
4 Goa Mandovi
5 Gujarat Sabarmati
6 Haryana Yamuna
7 Jharkhand Damodar, Ganga & Subarnarekha
8 Karnataka Bhadra, Tungabhadra,Cauvery, Tunga & Pennar
9 Kerala Pamba
10 Madhya Pradesh Betwa, Tapti, Wainganga, Khan, Narmada, Kshipra, Beehar, Chambal & Mandakini.
11 Mahrashtra Krishna, Godavari, Tapi and Panchganga
12 Nagaland Diphu & Dhansiri
13 Orissa Brahmini & Mahanadi
14 Punjab Satluj
15 Rajasthan Chambal
16 Sikkim Rani Chu
17 Tamil Nadu Cauvery, Adyar, Cooum, Vennar, Vaigai & Tambarani
18 Uttar Pradesh Yamuna, Ganga & Gomti
19 Uttarakhand Ganga
20 West Bengal Ganga, Damodar & Mahananda

The cleaning of rivers in India began with the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) which was a flagship 100% centrally funded scheme. It started way back in 1985 and is perhaps more famous for its dismal failure to improve the water quality of the river Ganga.

After launching of National River Conservation Plan in 1995, GAP was merged with NRCP.

Reference and further reading-

MoEF

CPCB

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