According to a report submitted by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to the Union Environment Ministry, Maharashtra tops the list of states with the most polluted rivers. Assam ranked second with 28 polluted rivers followed by Madhya Pradesh with 21. Gujarat came fourth with 20, and West Bengal ranked fifth with 17 polluted rivers. Out of 315 river stretches running through the state of Maharashtra, 49 are polluted. The report also said that 3,000 million litres of untreated sewage is discharged into the state’s water bodies every day.
The State Pollution Control Boards evaluated 275 rivers across 29 states through 1,275 monitoring stations. They were monitored on the basis of their Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), the concentration of oxygen required for sustaining aquatic life. Even though Maharashtra has the maximum number of water pollution monitoring stations in the country, lack of manpower and facilities makes monitoring of water quality difficult in the state. Maharashtra generates 13% of the country’s sewage, which poses a grave situation for the future. The 49 polluted river stretches include Mithi, Godavari, Bhima, Krishna, Ulhas, Tapi, Kundalika, Panchganga, Mula-Mutha, Pelhar, Penganga and Vaitarna.
A Sudhakar, member secretary of CPCB told Hindustan Times,
“We developed a unit called the Designated Best Use (DBU) to determine the water quality in these river stretches based on human use such as bathing, drinking and commercial purposes such as fishing. Our aim was to come close to a number where the water quality at these basins could be at least suitable for bathing. Our analysis showed that 315 river stretches across 275 rivers had low DBU, and Maharashtra had the most polluted ones.”
The deteriorating condition of the rivers has been a subject of debate by environment activists for years now. One such initiative is The Rally For Rivers, a campaign launched by Isha Foundation in consultation and collaboration with the Ministry of Environment to save the lifelines of this country: our rivers. The campaign was flagged off from Coimbatore on September 3. It will cover 13 states and 21 major cities and end in Delhi on October 2. The drive will cover a stretch of 6560 km across India.The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board officials have observed that household waste is responsible for 95% of the river pollution while the rest is industrial pollution. The Rally For Rivers campaign is working towards creating awareness for the same.