CUTTACK: The water quality of State’s two most important wetlands - Chilika Lake and Bhitarkanika National Park - has come under the scanner of the Orissa High Court. The division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice R K Pattanaik on Thursday directed the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to depute a technical team to test the water quality in both the wetlands.
The Secretary of OSPCB was directed to file a report containing the test results along with suggestions for improving the quality of water in both the water bodies. The HC issued the direction in response to the report filed by Amicus Curiae Mohit Agarwal as part of adjudication on a PIL over threat to ecology of Chilika and Bhitarkanika.
In his report, Agarwal stated that the cause of pollution and presence of heavy metals in the waters of Chilika is Daya river which feeds its water into the lake.According to his report, a 35.7 km long drain namely Gangua Nala, wherein all the drains of Bhubaneswar meet at its outskirts, discharge the untreated water (domestic and industrial waste) into Daya river, which flows through Khurda and Puri districts, and ultimately enters Chilika.
Similarly, the Bhitarkanika National Park is polluted by Brahmani River which empties into the wetland with effluents received from Nalco and other fertilizer plants. These industries use coal and are active source of fluorides, nitrogen compounds, cyanide, chromium, fly ash and other suspended solids. The end result is a collective discharge of effluent from three plants which further enriches the concentration of harmful elements, the Amicus Curiae’s report stated, while urging the Court to issue time-bound directions to the OSPCB to test the quality of water in both the wetlands.
Agarwal expected that the heavy metal content in the water along with other pollutants to be measured with respect to the permissible standards. The bench posted the PIL to August 11 for next hearing on the PIL along with the OSPCB’s report. In his report, the Amicus Curiae had raised pollution as one of the six issues to be considered by the Court for preservation of Chilika and Bhitarkanika.The other five were illegal prawn culture, uncontrolled boat operation and oil spills, siltation, depletion of mangrove forest of Bhitarkanika and prawn culture by illegal Bangladeshi migrants and poaching.