Water quality in rivers poor, pollution board launches plantation campaign

SOLAN: In a bid to improve the water quality of the Sukhana, Markanda and Sirsa river stretches , which figure in the 351 polluted stretches in the country, the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) today kickstarted a plantation drive at Baddi.

Water quality in rivers poor, pollution board launches plantation campaign

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Solan, June 21

In a bid to improve the water quality of the Sukhana, Markanda and Sirsa river stretches , which figure in the 351 polluted stretches in the country, the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) today kickstarted a plantation drive at Baddi.

Dr RK Pruthi, member secretary, SPCB, while elaborating on their endeavour, said they would adopt the phytoremediation technique to reduce pollution in these rivers. He said plantation was initiated today from the common effluent treatment plant at Baddi.

In Himachal, seven river stretches have been identified as “critically polluted”, where biological oxygen demand (BoD), which is the dissolved oxygen needed by organisms to break down organic material, was found to be above the permissible limit. These rivers were Sukhana, Markanda, Sirsa and Ashwani, stretches of the Beas, Giri and Pabbar.

In the Sukhana river stretch in Parwanoo, the BoD was as high as 54 mg per litre as against the safe limit of 3 mg per litre and it was placed under the High Priority-I criteria, which warranted immediate action. The Markanda river stretch in Kala Amb was categorised under Priority-II, as its BoD is between 32-24 mg per litre. The Sirsa river stretch in Baddi was rated under the Priority-III criteria, as its BoD was found to be between 8 to 16 mg per litre.

The phytoremediation technique involves plantation of green plants for the removal of contaminated soil, water, sediments and air. It is a low-cost option, where fast growing plant species are utilised to purify the water by plants and degrade organic pollutants or remove and stabilise metal contaminants. A host of plants have been identified for carrying out this objective, comprising trees, shrubs, aquatic plants, grasses, ferns, herbs and several ornamental species.

The water quality monitoring results indicate that the organic and bacterial contamination has occurred in the surface water, which is primarily due to the discharge of domestic wastewater in the untreated form in major cities in the state. The municipal bodies are not able to treat the sewage, which further increases the sewage flowing into the water bodies.

Seven river stretches ‘critically polluted’

In Himachal, seven river stretches have been identified as “critically polluted”, where biological oxygen demand (BoD), which is the dissolved oxygen needed by organisms to break down organic material, was found to be above the permissible limit. These rivers were Sukhana, Markanda, Sirsa and Ashwani, stretches of the Beas, Giri and Pabbar.

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