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Punjab rivers highly contaminated
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10
All main rivers of Punjab are highly contaminated with bacteria, posing a threat to humans. This is the finding of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

The pollution of the Sutlej, Beas, Ghaggar and the Ravi causes various diseases, including typhoid, dysentery, cholera, hookworm diseases, ascariasis and viral hepatitis.

The main source of the pollution, the board says, is human excreta. The Sutlej is highly contaminated at Ludhiana with the confluence of the Budha Nullah.

The Harike reservoir has also a high percentage of bacteria. Likewise, the Beas at Goindwal and near Harike has high pollution. The Ghaggar is alarmingly contaminated throughout its stretch.

Bio-Oxygen Demand, that should be nil, is 13.7 milligram per litre of water in the Ghaggar downstream Sardulgarh. This indicates the highest level of concentration of biomass. And the number of coliform per 100 millilitre is 1.56 lakh in the river. It means alarmingly high concentration of bacteria.

The quality of water in the entire Ghaggar has been graded as D by the board. It means its water is unfit for consumption. The Ravi water falls in the C category. It is also unfit for consumption. The water of the Beas also falls in the C and D categories, except at one place.

At Talwara, the Beas has been graded as the B category, which means it could be consumed or used after proper chemical treatment. However, in the downstream from Talwara, the Beas water is unfit for consumption.

The Sutlej water falls in the C and D grades, except near Nangal where it has been given grade B.

At the Budha Nullah confluence point, the number of coliform in the Sutlej are above 2.17 lakh per 100 millilitre. The board has given E grade at this point.

The level of Bio-Oxygen Demand and Chemical Oxygen Demand is almost high than prescribed limit at all places in these rivers. High concentration of pesticides has been found in the fish which died in the Kali Bein rivulet, near Kanjli.

Meanwhile, Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Chairman of the board, said the board had been working on a scheme to tackle the problem caused by human excreta.

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