Chitti Bein no more black, environmentalists elated

Chitti Bein no more black, environmentalists elated

A view of the Sutlej river near Gidderpindi village in Jalandhar before the lockdown. Photo: Malkiat Singh

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 17

Around 200 members of the Har Roku Lok Committee (people’s committee for the prevention of floods) working at the Gidderpindi bridge, which is the point of confluence of Chitti Bein and Sutlej, began experiencing an unusual change in the river for the past month. The black, stinking waters of Chitti Bein have become transparent. The foul smell emanating from the body has also disappeared.

The change in Chitti Bein and Kala Sanghian is a clear indication that water has become purer as industrial waste is not being discharged into the water bodies. The question is why the government isn’t serious in dealing with the cancerous waste

Balbir Singh Seechewal, Environmentalist

While villagers say the river’s colour has undergone a slight change for the better, the water is not stinking anymore. A resident of Gidderpindi village, Kulwinder Singh, president of the committee, which has been working on clearing out sludge and strengthening the bund to prevent floods, said, “After years, the smell of the river has disappeared. Our feet and hands don’t stink anymore. Rare birds which have never been seen this side are being witnessed. The weather and river haven’t felt this good in ages. The Goindwal factories, which are 40 km away, are visible from our village now. The tower near Lohian which we last saw 20 years ago from the village is also visible. We have been working on the river for the past five months. But the lockdown has brought dramatic changes to the water body.”

A view of the Sutlej river near Gidderpindi village in Jalandhar
after the lockdown. Malkiat Singh

Jarnail Singh, sarpanch of Eesewal village, said, “We used to get the foul smell of Chitti Bein half a kilometre away, but now, we can’t detect a whiff of foul odour.”

Environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal said, “Changes in Chitti Bein and Kala Sanghian drains are clear indications that water has become purer as industrial waste is not falling into them. The question is why the government isn’t serious enough about dealing with this cancerous waste. For us, cancer has been a bigger killer than Covid. A permanent solution to these toxic effluents has to be sought after the lockdown.”

Senior environmental engineer, PPCB, Harbir Singh said, “Both commercial and industrial wastes are causing problems. There is also a considerable difference due to commercial establishments like hotels, service stations, dhabas, etc, being closed. We will be formulating a report on the prime causes of reduction in pollution.”

Ghaggar pollution dips

Mansa: The polluted Ghaggar river, whose black and foamy water started emitting a pungent smell in the past two decades, has turned clear in the Sardulgarh area of Mansa district. Villagers appealed to the Punjab Pollution Control Board and district administration to keep a close check on industries disposing of their effluents into the Ghaggar as many of them had resumed work. TNS

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