Water is one of the most important commodities which Man has exploited than any other resource for sustenance of his life. Most of the water on this planet is stored in oceans and ice caps which is difficult to be recovered for our diverse needs. Most of our demand for water is fulfilled by rain water which gets deposited in surface and ground water resources. The quantity of this utilizable water is very much limited on the earth. Though, water is continuously purified by evaporation and precipitation, yet pollution of water has emerged as one of the most significant environmental problems of the recent times. Not only there is an increasing concern for rapidly deteriorating supply of water but the quantity of utilizable water is also fast diminishing. The causes of such a situation may be many, but gross pollution of water has its origin mainly in urbanization, industrialization, agriculture and increase in human population observed in past one and a half century.
There has been a steady deterioration in the quality of water of Indian rivers over several decades. India’s fourteen major, 55 minor and several hundred small rivers receive millions of liters of sewage, mining, industrial and agricultural wastes. Most of these rivers have been rendered to the level of sewage flowing drains. There are serious water quality problems in the cities, towns and villages using these waters. Water borne diseases are rampant, fisheries are on decline, and even cattle are not spared from the onslaught of pollution.
Present article is a collection of research report on significant rivers in this field which present a very grim picture of India’s precious water resources.
River Ganga (Ganges) of India has been held in high esteem since time immemorial and Hindus from all over the world cherish the idea of a holy dip in the river under the faith that by doing so they will get rid of their sins of life. More than 400 million people live along the Ganges River. An estimated 2,000,000 persons ritually bathe daily in the river. Historically also, Ganga is the most important river of the country and beyond doubt is closely connected with the history of civilization as can be noticed from the location of the ancient cities of Hardwar, Prayag, Kashi and Patliputra at its bank. To millions of people it is sustainer of life through multitude of canal system and irrigation of the wasting load. Hundreds of the villages and even the big cities depend for their drinking water on this river. It is believed, a fact which has also been observed, that the water of Ganga never decays even for months and years when water of other rivers and agencies begins to develop bacteria and fungi within a couple of days. This self purification characteristic of Ganga is the key to the holiness and sanctity of its water. The combination of bacteriophages and large populations of people bathing in the river have apparently produced a self-purification effect, in which water-borne bacteria such as dysentery and cholera are killed off, preventing large-scale epidemics. The river also has an unusual ability to retain dissolved oxygen.
A number of investigations have been carried out on the physiochemical and biological characters of the Ganga. Lakshminarayana (1965) published a series of papers reporting the results of studies carried out at Varanasi during the period between March, 1957 and March, 1958. it was observed by him that the values of the most of the parameters decreased during rainy season while no marked variation was observed during winters and summers.
In the same year Chakraborty et.al. (1965) from Kanpur reported the water quality of Ganga at J.K. Rayon’s water intake point and at Golaghat and Bhairoghat pumping stations situated at the upstream of the river. It was concluded that the water quality gradually deteriorated as it passes from Bhairoghat pumping station to the J.K. Rayon water intake point in summers because in this stretch the river received waste waters from number of sewage drains.
A year later Saxena et.al. (1966) made a systematic survey of the chemical quantity of Ganga at Kanpur. According to the study, the biological oxygen demand, i.e. B.O.D. varied from 5.3ppm (minimum) in winter to 16.0ppm (maximum) in summer. The chloride ranged between 9.2 and 12.7 ppm and the river was found to be alkaline in nature except in rainy season. He concluded that the tanneries significantly increased the pollution load of river as they discharge huge amounts of effluents containing organic wastes and heavy metals. It was further reported that forty five tanneries, ten textile mills and several other industrial units discharged 37.15 million gallon per day of waste water generating BOD load of approximately 61630 Kg/day.
Subsequently Agarwal et.al. (1976) studied the bacteriological population of the river water and concluded that addition of untreated waste and sewage was responsible for the presence of pathogenic organisms posing threat to the residents of the Varanasi city.
Hydrobiological features of the river Ganga was studied by Pahwa and Mehrotra (1966). The authors studied a stretch of 1090 kms. of river Ganga extending from Kanpur in west to Rajmahal, in Jharkhand state, in the east. They reported that the turbidity was maximum (1100-2170 ppm) in monsoon and minimum ( less than100 ppm) during January to June. The pH of the river water ranged between 7.45 (minimum) during June to August and 8.30 (maximum) during January to May. The dissolved oxygen, i.e. D.O. count ranged from 5.0 to 10.5 ppm with maximum values during January and February. While the minimum values were recorded in monsoon.
Bhargava (1982) in a survey of total length of the river Ganga found that quality index was far above the prescribed limit at Kanpur. He further found that the Ganga water was having unusually fast regenerating capacity by bringing down B.O.D. owing to the presence of large amount of well adopted micro-organisms. According to the research Ganga is rich in polymers excreted by various species of bacteria. These polymers being excellent coagulants remove turbidity by coagulation, setting the suspended particles at the sewage discharge point.
Study carried out in 1986-87 on physico-chemical properties of river Ganga water at Buxar (Unnao) clearly revealed that extent of pollution varied in different seasons. Usually all the 23 parameters studied showed high values in summer and lower during monsoons except turbidity which was high in rainy season. Values of BOD, COD, DO and H2S were recorded high than the tolerance limits.
Study on water quality of river Ganga at Kalakankar (Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh) revealed that even at such a remote and undisturbed place like Kalakankar the river water was not safe for drinking and bathing. It was also noted that the river showed an alkaline trend throughout the course of study.
Upstream from Varanasi, one of the major pilgrimage sites along the river, the water is comparatively pure, having a low Biochemical oxygen demand and fecal coliform count. Studies conducted in 1983 on water samples taken from the right bank of the Ganga at Patna confirm that escheria coli (E.Coli.), fecal streptococci and vibrio cholerae organisms die two to three times faster in the Ganga than in water taken from the rivers Son and Gandak and from dug wells and tube wells in the same area.
The chemical pollution of the river Ganga in Patna city in Bihar state has been found somewhat alarming beside the storm drain, especially in the regions like Rajapur, Mandiri and Krishnaghat.
For some time now, this romantic view of the Ganges has collided with India's grim realities. During the past three decades, the country's explosive growth (at nearly 1.2 billion people, India's population is second only to China's), industrialization and rapid urbanization have put unyielding pressure on the sacred stream.
Ganga, the most sacred of rivers for Hindus, has become polluted for some years now.
Today the picture of Damodar or Damuda, considered a sacred river by the local tribals,in Jharkhand State of India is quite like a sewage canal shrunken and filled with filth and rubbish, emanating obnoxious odours. It is also contaminated with toxic metals like arsenic, mercury, flouride, and lead.
The Damodar river basin is a repository of approximately 46% of the Indian coal reserves. A high demographic and industrial expansion has taken place in last three decades in the region. Exploitation of coal by underground and open cast mining has lead to a great environmental threat in this area. Besides mining, coal based industries like coal washeries, coke oven plants, coal fired thermal power plants, steel plants and other related industries in the region also greatly impart towards degradation of the environmental quality vis-a-vis human health.
It is a small rainfed river (541 km long) originating from the Khamerpet hill (1068 m), near the trijunction of Palamau, Ranchi, and Hazaribag districts of Jharkhand. It flows through the cities Ramgarh, Dhanbad, Asansol, Durgapur, Bardwan and Howrah before ultimately joining the lower Ganga (Hooghly estuary) at Shayampur, 55 Km downstram of Howrah. The river is fed by a number of tributaries at different reaches, the principal ones being Jamunia, Bokaro, Konar, Safi, Bhera, Nalkari and Barakar. The total catchment area of the basin is about 23,170 km2; of this, three-fourths of the basin lies in Jharkhand and one-fourth in West Bengal. The major part of the rainfall (82%) occurs during the monsoon season with a few sporadic rains in winter. Damodar basin is an important coal bearing area and at least seven coal fields are located in this region.
High increase in the population i.e. from 5.0 million (1951) to 14.6 million (1991) has been observed during the last four decades which is the outcome of the heavy industrialization in this basin mainly in coal sector.
Due to easy availability of coal and prime coking coal, several thermal power plants, steel plants have grown up. Discharge of uncontrolled and untreated industrial wastewater, often containing highly toxic metals is the major source of pollution of Damodar River.
Mine water and runoff through overburden material of open cast mines also contribute towards pollution of nearby water resources of the area. Huge amount of overburden materials has been dumped on the bank of the river and its tributaries, which finally get spread in the rivers especially in the rainy season. These activities have resulted in the visible deterioration of the quality of the river water.
The large scale mining operations going on this region have also adversely affected ground water table in many areas with the result that yield of water from the wells of adjoining villages has drastically reduced. Further, effluents discharged from the mine sites have also seriously polluted the underground waters of the area.
Mine waters does not have acid mine drainage problem. It may be due to the fact that coal deposits of this basin are associated with minor amounts of pyrites and contain low sulfur. Iron content in these waters are found in the range of 1 to 6 mg/l. Though it is not alarming but it may be toxic to some aquatic species. Mine waters are generally bacterially contaminated which is clear from the value lying in the range of 100 to 2500.
Heavy metals like manganese, chromium, lead, arsenic, mercury, floride, cadmium, and copper are also found in the sediments and water of Damodar River and its tributaries like Safi, Nalkari, Bhera Rivers etc. Permian coal of this area contains all these toxic elements in considerable amount. Presence of lead is high above the alarming level i.e. 300 ppm (parts per million) in the coals of North Karanpura coal field.
The study warned that long term exposure to the lead present in that area might result in general weakness, anorexia, dyspepsia, metallic taste in the mouth, headache, drowsiness, high blood pressure and anaemia etc.
The Damodar sediments are deficient in calcium and magnesium and rich in potassium concentration. Titanium and iron are the dominant heavy metals followed by manganese, zinc, copper, chromium, lead, arsenic, and mercury. Other heavy metal like strontium shows more or less uniform concentration throughout the basin. Average concentration of strontium in the sediments of the river is 130 ppm. Silica is also high in the sediments of Damodar River and its tributary. The value is 28ppm. Arsenic in the water ranges from 0.001 to 0.006 mg/l, mercury ranges from 0.0002 to 0.0004 mg/l, floride ranges from 1 to 3 mg/l.
The seven thermal power plants in the Damodar valley (three of which, with a combined installed capacity of about 1,800 mw, belong to the DVC) consume between 3,000 and 8,000 tonnes of coal a day and as much as 50 per cent of the total solids generated is in the form of flyash. Yet, there is little effort to manage the waste. This is obvious from the fact that very few DVC units, which are better managed than those run by the state electricity boards, have electrostatic precipitators (ESPS). Of the six units of the DVC's Chandrapura Thermal Power Plant in Giridih district, only one has an ESP, while the others make do with old mechanical dust collectors. As these plants are located on the banks of the river, the flyash eventually finds its way into the water.Disposal of solid waste, or bottom ash, from boilers degrades the river even more. The bottom ash is supposed to be mixed with water to form slurry which is then drained into ash ponds. Most of the ponds are full and in several cases drainage pipes are choked. The slurry is discharged into the river.
The people who live in the vicinity of the Damodar are the worst affected. The river and its tributaries are the largest sources of drinking water for the huge population that lives in the valley. On April 2, 1990 about 200,000 litres of furnace oil spilled into the Damodar river from the Bokaro Steel Plant. The oil travelled about 150 km downstream to Durgapur and for at least a week after the incident, the five million people in the area drank contaminated water. The water from the river that the people drank was unfit for human consumption, with oil levels 40-80 times higher than the maximum permissible value of 0.03 mg/l.
It is obvious that due to extensive coal mining and vigorous growth of industries in this area water resources have been badly contaminated. The habitants have, however, been compromising by taking contaminated and sometimes polluted water, as there is no alternate source of drinking water. Thus, a sizeable populace suffers from water borne diseases. As per the health survey of about 3 lakh population, the most common diseases are dysentery, diarrhoea, skin infection, worm infection, jaundice, and typhoid. Dysentery and skin infections occur in high percentage in the area. If proper steps are not taken up the total population mostly tribals will be on the verge of extinction.
Translated literally, Subarnarekha means 'streak of gold'. With a drainage area of 1.93 million ha this smallest of India's major inter-state river basins is a mute host to effluents from various uranium mining and processing units. While most rivers in the country are classified -- depending on the pollution load -- on a 'best designated use’ basis, the Subarnarekha defies any classification, as the existing parameters do not include radioactivity.The rain-fed Subarnarekha originates 15 kms south of Ranchi on the Chhotanagpur plateau draining the states of Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal before entering the Bay of Bengal. The total length of the river is 450 kms and its important tributaries include the Raru, Kanchi, Karkari, Kharkai, Garra and Sankh rivers.The only streaks visible in the river are those of domestic, industrial or - incredibly - radioactive pollution. Subarnarekha's rich resource base has spelled doom for the basin. Between Mayurbhanj and Singhbhum districts, on the right banks of the Subarnarekha, are the country’s richest copper deposits. The proliferation of unplanned and unregulated mining and mineral processing industries has led to a devastating environmental degradation of the region. Improper mining practices have led to uncontrolled dumping of overburden (rock and soil extracted while mining) and mine tailings. During monsoons, this exposed earth flows into the river, increasing suspended solid and heavy metal load in the water, silting the dams and reservoirs. Quarrying of construction material, such as granite, basalt, quartzite, dolerite, sandstone, limestone, dolomite, gravel, and even sand, has created vast stretches of wasteland in the river basin. Used and abandoned mines and quarries are a source of mineral wastewater and suspended solids.Subarnarekha also has to bear radioactive waste that enters the river through seepage from tailing ponds of the Uranium Corporation of India at Jadugoda. It has three productive uranium mines, all within a 5 km radius: Jadugoda, Batin and Narwapahar. The uranium ore is mined from underground and brought to the surface. Uranium is then extracted and processed to make 'yellow cake', an ingredient used to fuel nuclear plants. What is left behind are 'tailings' or effluents comprising radioactive products, which are mixed into slurry and pumped into tailing ponds. These ponds, each covering about 160 ha of land and about 30 metres deep are situated between adjoining villages.No standards have been met in their construction and no measures taken to control the emissions. Overflow and seepage from the tailing ponds ultimately ends into the streams that feed Subarnarekha. These radiations pose the greatest threat to human health, as they harm living cells, often leading to genetic mutation, cancer and slow death.Subarnarekha is the lifeline of tribal communities inhabiting the Chhotanagpur belt. Once these communities made a living out of the river's gold and fish. But today the polluted Subarnarekha has little to offer. Between 5,000-6,000 families of local tribals, including the fishing community of Dharas, residing on the riverbanks from Mango in Jamshedpur to Bharagora, have been affected by the river’s pollution.Oil and slug deposits on the riverbed deter the growth of moss and fungi, vital food for fish, hindering the movement of Hilsa fish from the Bay of Bengal to Ghatsila. Even sweet water fish like sol die in large numbers during their breeding season. Reports reveal that villages in the region around Ghatsila such as Kalikapara, Royam, Jadugoda, Aminagar, Benasol and Baraghat are suffering from skin diseases. The male fertility rate has also declined. Unfortunately, people have not been active in protecting the river as yet, when they could do well and take an example from other social movements in other river basins.
Originating at Yamunotri and merging with river Ganga at Allahabd, river Yamuna, though a major river of Uttar Pradesh also passes through Delhi, the capital of country. According to different research report, the river is badly polluted at Delhi, Mathura, Agra and Allahabad as the BOD values ranged from 1.6 mg/lit to 31.3 mg/l in different seasons while the total coliform count ranged between 1820 to 63,500. High percentage of cadmium, copper and zinc were reported between Dakpathar and Agra, which clearly indicates that pollution load increases as the river receives industrial effluents along its course.
The major tributaries of the river are Tons, Betwa, Chambal, Ken and Sindh and these together contribute 70.9% of the catchment area and balance 29.1% is the direct drainage of main River and smaller tributaries. On the basis of area, the catchment basin of Yamuna amounts to 40.2% of the Ganga Basin and 10.7% of the country.
Yamuna is the sub-basin of the Ganga river system. Out of the total catchment’s area of 861404 sq km of the Ganga basin, the Yamuna River and its catchment together contribute to a total of 345848 sq. km area which 40.14% of total Ganga River Basin (CPCB, 1980-81; CPCB, 1982-83). It is a large basin covering seven Indian states. The river water is used for both abstractive and in stream uses like irrigation, domestic water supply, industrial etc. It has been subjected to over exploitation, both in quantity and quality. Given that a large population is dependent on the river, it is of significance to
preserve its water quality. The river is polluted by both point and non-point sources, where National Capital Territory (NCT) – Delhi is the major contributor, followed by Agra and Mathura. Approximately, 85% of the total pollution is from domestic source. The condition deteriorates further due to significant water abstraction which reduces the dilution capacity of the river. The stretch between Wazirabad barrage and Chambal river confluence is critically polluted and 22km of Delhi stretch is the maximum polluted amongst all.
Although the river is polluted almost throughout its journey in plains but maximum of pollution occurs during its journey through NCT. The main sources of pollution in NCT are:
•Rising density of human population on the river banks and poor sanitation practices by residents;
•untreated domestic wastewater;
•untreated industrial effluents;
•diffuse pollution (agricultural runoffs; dead body dumping and cattle washing)
•undetected and untreated pesticide residues leave a toxic mark all across the river
•religious activity and immersion of idols.
Monitoring data shows that pollution measured in terms of BOD load has increased 2.5 times from 1980-2005. BOD load, which was 117 tonnes per day (tpd) in 1980 increased to 276 tpd in 2005. The river has no fresh water flow for virtually nine months. Delhi impounds water at the barrage constructed at Wazirabad. Water that flows subsequently is only sewage and waste .The anaerobic condition in the river is frequently observed and as evident from the presence of masses of rising sludge from the bottom, gas bubbles and floating solids on the surface (CPCB, 2000).
Najafgarh drain of NCT – Delhi is the biggest polluter of River Yamuna, which
contributes about 26% (year 2001) to 33% 22 (year 2000) of total BOD load and
48% (year 2003) to 52% (year 2001) of total discharge that joins Yamuna river
and canal at Delhi by various drains. There are 70 sub drains that join main Najafgarh Drain. The study indicated that the total BOD load received by Najafgarh Drain through sub-drains was 136 TPD, whereas the BOD load at the terminal end of the Najafgarh Drain was 83 TPD only. This reduction may be contributed by biodegradation, deposition of setllable material at the bottom and diversion of drain water for irrigation etc.
The significant measure to be undertaken for abatement of pollution in river
Yamuna areas below:
▪ Industries should treat their effluents so as to confirm the specified
▪ To reduce over exploitation of river water for various human activities,
adoption of water harvesting system on large scale becoming necessary.
▪ Construction of small barrages in the entire Yamuna river stretch will also
solve the water scarcity problem.
▪ Disposal of garbage, solid, semi-solid, waste into river, its tributaries and
drains should be restricted.
▪ Community participation in various Yamuna water quality restoration
programme should be encouraged.
River Gomati an important tributary of river Ganga and a perennial river of Awadh plains runs across the major part of Uttar Pradesh covering nine districts and a distance of approximately 940 kms. Originating from Madhoganj Tanda village in Pilibhit districts, it passes through the districts of Shahjahanpur, Kheri, Hardoi, Sitapur, Lucknow, Barabanki, Sultanpur, Jaunpur and ultimately merges in river Ganga near Saidpur town of district Ghazipur. During its course, it receives huge quantities untreated sewage and industrial wastes which alter the physico-chemical characteristics of river water significantly. It was found that the Gomati at Lucknow was polluted with copper, zinc and chromium. The concentration of metals was found much higher than the permissible limits and it was suggested that the river water was not safe for human usage without proper treatment. Physico-chemical parameters and microbial counts (MPN) clearly revealed that river was grossly polluted at Lucknow and Jaunpur due to discharge of large quantities of raw sewage and industrial wastes. Studies conducted on the tributaries of river Gomati viz. Sarayan at Sitapur and Gone at Kamalapur indicated that both of them were significantly polluted due to discharge of sugar mill effluent and distillery waste water in their catchment areas.
Historically, Gomati has served as a waterway, source of fish and water and provided livelihood to dwellers along the Avadh plains. Because of this important role, a number of big and small towns developed on its banks. The growing inflow of pollutants in the river now has destabilised its self-purification mechanism. Result: Water becoming unsafe for use. Two kinds of wastes are discharged into the river - organic and inorganic. The bacterial pollution in the river is increasing due to the discharge of organic wastes - human excreta, sewage waste, polythenes, municipal garbage and toxic discharge from the factories which flow into the storm drains, mixing with common water and subsequently posing a serious threat to the human population.
Heavy metals like, copper, zinc, magnesium iron and chromium have been found in large quantities in the river water. However their percentages differ in summers and winters.
Kuttiadi River (Kerala):
Kuttiadi River originates from the Narikota ranges on the western slope of the Wynad hills, a part of Western Ghats, at an elevation of 1220 meters above the mean sea level. The river flows through Badagara, Quilandy and Kozhikode Taluks in Kerala state before it falls into the Arabian Sea at Kottakal 7 km south of Badagara.
In general the water quality of Kuttiadi River depends significantly on the following factors: seasons, saline water intrusion, demographic pressure around the river, and topography. The river showed exceptionally low levels of Dissolved Oxygen at 8 km upstream (near Payyoli canal) where a stream carrying domestic and industrial wastes joins the river. Exceptionally high level of total hardness were recorded in waters collected near Payyoli canal. Exceptionally high levels of zinc were recorded in samples collected near Payyoli canal. The concentration of copper increased gradually as the river approached the sea.
The river rises in the South-Western spurs of Aravali hills. It traverse through Sabarkantha, Ahmedabad, and Kheda districts and finally discharges into the Gulf of Khambhat (Cambay). Sabarmati River rises in the Aravali hills, which roughly mark the western boundary of Udaipur District, i.e. Mount Abu area, and flows in a south-westerly direction. The main tributaries of the Sabarmati river are Wakal river and the Sei Nadi, which also rise in the Aravali hill range west of Udaipur city and flow south-westwards in courses generally parallel to the Sabarmati river, up to their confluence with the river (in Gujarat).
Ahmedabad, seventh largest populous city of India and Commercial Capital of Gujarat State has unique identity recognize by River Sabarmati. It’s potential to provide city level social infrastructure and recreation facilities lie untapped. Though it is a major source of water for the city and despite the building of a major barrage to retain water, except for a few months during the monsoon the river is dry. Sewage contaminated storm water out-falls and the dumping of industrial waste pose a major health and environmental hazard. Though the riverbanks and bed provide a place to stay and source of livelihood for many poor citizens, the riverbank slums are disastrously flood prone and lack basic infrastructure services. The slums located along the riverbed also pose a major impediment to efficient management of monsoon flood sin the river.
It is mainly a dumping ground of domestic, textile, chemical, dye and industrial wastes of units located on or near the river bank. River has been studied to its entire health by various workers. pH was always in alkaline range. The alkalinity was remarkably high and D.O. content was very low at most of the sites. The water was rich in chloride, phosphate, nitrate and COD indicating its polluted nature. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also reported highest volumes of faecal coliform (FC) — a bacteria present in human and animal excreta — in the country in Sabarmati. FC in these stretches is measured to be 2.8 million Most Probable Number (MPN) in every 100 ml of the river.
The major polluting units along the rivers include distilleries, sugar, textile, electroplating, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper mills, tanneries, dyes and dye intermediates, petrochemicals and steel plants, among others. According to CPCB, the major reason for polluted river stretches in Gujarat is the effluent directly discharged by the factories into these water bodies.
An observation supported by the fact that the Amlakhadi, which meets Narmada near Bharuch district, has been reduced to an effluent channel of over 1,500 chemical units in Ankleshwar, Panoli, Vilayat, Dahej and Jhagadia.
This river flows through Valsad in Gujrat state. The water of this river, irrespective of season was always muddy due to the flushing character of the river. pH was always alkaline through out the flow. Dissolved oxygen was very long except in spring. The high value of phosphate and silicate revealed the amount of industrial effluents released into the rivers. The alarmingly high levels of lead (0.2 to 1.08 ppm) was due to the burning of gasoline, or by the petrol operated vehicles or industries.
Khan river is the main water body of the study area. The drainage of the city is provided by two small rivers, Khan and Sarswati. Khan river, a tributary of Shipra river emerges near Umaria village 11 km South of Indore and flows through heart of city. traveling of distance of around 50 km, it confluences in to Shipra river at Ujjain.
Years before, Khan was a flowing river in Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Due to urbanization of the city the river has become a waste water disposal site. The growth of the city was fairly rapid during the past few years, as a consequence of which the waste entering into the river has increased at an enormous rate. At present it has been fully converted into a ‘Nallah’.
The maximum value of dissolved solids was recorded in July due to less flow of water and high impurities because rains did not pours much at that time. The pH value of the water is above 8 at all the sites. High value of chlorides was found because of the contamination of water due to sewage of the city. The relative higher hardness was recorded at all the places. It is due to the sewage effluent and industrial waste.
The river Satluj, one of the main rivers of the Punjab, originates from ‘Mansarovar’ Lake, in Tibet, enters Punjab near Bhakra, flows through this state to finally join the river Beas at Harike. During its course, it get heavily polluted by domestic sewage, agricultural runoff and untreated or inadequately treated industrial effluents. Samples analyzed near industrial Ludhiana town showed high concentration of zinc, lead, and mercury, while chromium and cadmium were found to be absent. Zinc, lead, and mercury were also found to be present in both in water and sediment near Jalandhar city. In general terms, concentration of heavy metals were found to be considerably high in sediments than in water. The effluents being discharged by Budha Nalah into Satluj River over the years has attained alarming proportions causing a drastic decline in the number of fish species besides showing high concentration of heavy metal.
Ludhiana has 250 large and medium-scale units and 41,116 small-scale units. Electroplating, heat treatment, cycle manufacturing, hosiery, machine parts, vegetable oils, dyeing processes and chemical industries are the major industries. They use huge quantities of chemicals, various types of dyes, chrome, nickel and cyanide. With poor effluent treatment facilities, traces of these heavy metals end up in Budha Nalah and thus in the river. In the process, even groundwater is contaminated, posing a public issue as well.
It's no secret that rivers in Punjab are heavily polluted. Now, the comptroller and auditor general's (CAG) office, in its latest report, has expressed concern over the degradation of state rivers and blamed government for not doing enough to save them.
The CAG report on " Water Pollution in India" said the rivers and groundwater in the state were highly polluted with the government not being able to effectively implement National River Conservation Project (NCRP) in six cities, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Phagwara, Phillaur, Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodhi, which were situated on banks of the Satluj river.
Krishna and Koyana River:
Krishna river rises in the western ghats of India at an altitude of 1337 m. near Mahabaleshwar, about 64 km from the Arabian sea. It is one of the longest rivers in India. The Krishna river is around 1,290 km in length. It flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh before merging in the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh. The principle tributaries of the Krishna River includes Koyna, Bhima, Mallaprabha, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, Dindi, Musi, Tungabhadra and Dudhganga rivers. The river basin is approximately 200 meter deep. A tributary of Krishna river Koyana also originates in the western ghats and finally meets the river Krishna at Karad in frontal confluence. River Krishna is dying at an increasing rate. The river receives the waste from the large number of cities including Hyderabad, Pune, Satara, Kolhapur, Kurnool and many more. The sewages from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad flows into it. Large number of industrial units operates from the river basin which are the main reason for the water pollution in the Krishna river.
The study found that, the Satara-Sangli stretch of the Krishna river is polluted grossly by the human-induced activities in the subwatersheds. The factors for acute pollution of water are:
The intensive use of fertilisers and pesticides in the agricultural land, growth of medium to big size sugar and distillery factories and very high growth of population leading to high domestic load from urban setup.
Turbidity values increased and the same results were witnessed after 1990 for chemical parameters such as BOD, COD, Na, Mg, Ca, Cl, and sulphate.
Of all sources, the share of agriculture to water consumption and water pollution was the highest. Agricultural sources contributed to 91% of total waste discharge while the same for domestic and industrial sources were 4.5% each.
Iron and zinc was present in considerable quantity in both the rivers. Copper concentration varied from 10 to 150 µg/lt. in the rivers. Lead concentration was found to be higher than the concentration of copper in the Krishna river. Nickel showed higher variation at all the sites from nil to 200µg/lt. in the river Krishna. Low concentration ranging from 10µg/lt. to 50 µg/lt. was noted in the river Koyana. The Koyna river is polluted in Karad due to the sewage released from Karad.
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