BENGALURU: Officials from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) have started collecting water samples from 17 rivers, which were recently listed as polluted, by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in its report. The exercise gained importance after experts and citizens pointed out that water from the rivers, including the Cauvery, was not fit for consumption.
The CPCB had published the report in November 2022. According to the report, of the surveyed 311 polluted river stretches (PRS), the 17 listed from Karnataka are Aghanashini, Arkavathi, Bhadra, Bhima, Cauvery, Dakshina Pinakini, Gangavali, Kabini, Kagina, Krishna, Lakshmana Tirtha, Netravathi, Sharavathi, Shimsha, Then Pennai, Tunga and Tungabhadra.
“The water quality of 30 rivers in Karnataka was monitored at 107 locations during the years 2019 and 2021, out of which 41 locations on 17 rivers were found to be non-compliant with the prescribed Water Quality Criteria with respect to Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD),” quoted the CPCB report. The maximum PRS are in Maharashtra (55), followed by Madhya Pradesh (19), Bihar and Kerala (18 each) and Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh (17 each).
A senior KSPCB official told The New Indian Express: “Though the report is old, it is still creating panic among people because of the water quality. We know the quality will not change overnight, but efforts are being made. Samples are being collected from multiple locations to know the ground situation and what more needs to be done. In fact, the water quality in some locations has worsened since the past five years.
This is the reason why we are stressing on municipalities and panchayats to aggressively work on an effective underground drainage system (UGD) and sewage treatment plants (STP). We are taking samples not just from the listed 17 rivers but surrounding water bodies also.” The official pointed to the ongoing National Green Tribunal cases on polluted rivers and water bodies.
He admitted that the water quality of lakes across the state, more so in Bengaluru, was also very poor. In the CPCB report, most of the rivers are listed under Category 4 and 5, which means they can be used for propagation of wildlife and fisheries, and can be used for irrigation, industrial cooling and controlled waste disposal. The report lists Arkavathi river water along Hessarghatta to Kanakapura, Dakshina Pinakini along Mugalur and Then Pennai along Kodiyalam, under Category 1, which means it can be used as a drinking water source without conventional treatment, but after disinfection.
The 17 rivers
- Dakshina Pinakini
- Lakshmana Tirtha
- Then Pennai