60 polluted river stretches in Northeast, says report


Imphal, February 15: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has recognised 60 polluted river stretches based on biochemical oxygen demand in different northeastern states, according to the latest State of India’s Environment report.
The report running into more than 300 pages is an annual statement on the state of affairs in the environment and development sectors published by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
It was released by the Rajasthan’s chief minister Ashok Gehlot and the CES team on February 9.
CPCB has identified more than 350 polluted stretches across the country.
BOD is the amount of oxygen required for microbial metabolism of organic compounds in water.
The polluted river stretches in the northeastern states are Bharalu, Basistha, Kolong, Boko and Kopili in Assam; Wahumkhrah, Umshyrpi, Waikhyrwi, Rawaka, Kmai-um, Um-Mynkseh, Umpai, Mynkseh and Sarbang in Meghalaya; Nambul and Kongba in Manipur; Chite in Mizioram; Dhansiri in Nagaland and Gumti in Tripura, the report said.
It said that the discharge of industrial and mining effluent and dumping of waste have been identified as the major causes of pollution of these stretches, which are mostly located near towns and cities.
Many stretches of Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland are highly polluted due to unscientific coal mining, it said.
The source for the pollution of the river stretches in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura is sewage and in the case of Assam it is sewage, industrial effluent and coal mining, the report said.
In Meghalaya, these stretched were polluted because of sewage and coal mining.
The report also said that Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have comparatively clean water and pollution in Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura is localised near urban areas.
The report further said that more than 60% of the country’s sewage is released into the streams and rivers untreated. Consequently, half of the rivers in the country are now polluted with the Ganga, Sabarmati and Yamuna being the most polluted.
Polluted water results in water scarcity and poor hygiene, and causes deadly diseases, such as diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis and cholera.
The northeast, which boasts of nearly 30% of the country’s water resources besides a low population density, faces acute water shortage in many parts, the report said.
India stands a poor 120th among 122 countries on the Water Quality Index based on the availability of clean and sufficient water.
A 2018 NITI Aayog report on Composite Water Management Index shows that nearly 70% freshwater in the country is contaminated and more than 600 million people face high to the extreme water crisis. (Courtesy: HT)