Times of India: Dehradun: Thursday, May 18, 2017.
A dip in the Ganga may wash away your sins but the river's water is also likely to make you sick. The Central Pollution Control Board's reply to an RTI query put up by TOI has said that the water of the river along Haridwar is not even fit for bathing.
The CPCB has said that water in Haridwar district fails almost all parameters of safety. According to official sources, nearly 50,000-1 lakh devotees bathe at the over 20 ghats of Haridwar every day.
Tests were done at 11 locations in Uttarakhand, from Gangotri to Haridwar, a distance of 294km along the river. The RTI filed sought details of water quality and locations from which samples are collected.
RM Bhardwaj, senior scientist of the CPCB, stated that four main indicators of river water quality were taken into account when examining the 296 km stretch. These included temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), biological oxygen demand (BOD) and coliform (bacteria). Clinical tests of water samples showed high levels of BOD, coliform and other toxic materials around Haridwar district.
According to CPCB norms, BOD levels should be less than 3 mg per litre for bathing purposes. But the levels go up to 6.4 mg per litre in the river's water.
Presence of high-level coliform further threw light on the severity of water pollution in Haridwar. The total coliform value here is between 90 MPN (most probable number) per 100 ml to 1,600 MPN per 100 ml. According to the CPCB report, the coliform values should be 500 MPN/100ml or less for bathing purposes.
Moreover, the acceptable limit for DO is 5 mg per litre or more but in Haridwar it is 4 mg to 10.6 mg per litre. Noted environmentalist Anil Joshi said, "Haridwar has emerged as an industrial and tourist hub and unless sewage treatment plants (STP) are installed and water discharge quality is monitored strictly, the ghats will continue to remain polluted."