Discharge of sewage, industrial and mining effluent, and dumping of waste are identified as the major causes of pollution Credit: Representational image

Agartala: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified more than 350 polluted stretches in the country that includes 60 from the Northeastern states. These polluted stretches have high values of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), turbidity and total suspended solids (TSS), a report of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said.

“Study of the CPCB said some have even been placed in categories I and II indicating highest levels of organic pollution. These stretches are mostly located near towns and cities. Discharge of sewage, industrial and mining effluent, and dumping of waste are identified as the major causes of pollution here,” the report read.

The report also said that Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have comparatively clean water and pollution in Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura is localised near urban areas. Many stretches of Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland are highly polluted due to unscientific coal mining, it said.

The report of the Central Pollution Control Board-2020

“In Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills, the river water is highly acidic with PH value of around 3. It is contaminated by toxic metals and coloured precipitate of iron hydroxide. Such acidic stretches have become devoid of aquatic life and have affected agriculture and other traditional livelihood options of the people. The Kopili Hydro Electric Project, which receives acidic water from Jaintia Hills, is also affected due to corrosion of metal parts,” the report noted.

“The polluted river stretches in the Northeast are Bharalu, Basistha, Kolong, Boko and Kopili of Assam which are polluted due to sewage, industrial effluent and coal mining pollution. In Manipur, two rivers Nambul and Kongba rivers are polluted due to sewage. Due to sewage as well as coal mining, Wahumkhrah, Umshyrpi Waikhyrwi, Rawaka, Kmai-um, UmMynkseh, Umpai, Mynkseh and Sarbang rivers are polluted in Meghalaya. Chite in Mizoram, Dhansiri river stretch of Nagaland and Gomti of Tripura were found polluted due to sewage,” the report read.

More than 60 per cent of the country’s sewage is released into the streams and rivers untreated. Consequently, half of the rivers in the country are now polluted, the Ganga, Sabarmati and Yamuna being the most polluted. Polluted water results in water scarcity and poor hygiene, and causes deadly diseases, such as diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis and cholera.

Earlier, Dr Rajendra Singh, also known as India’s waterman, said that among the 36 rivers of India, Tripura has the four most polluted ones, during his visit to attend a two-day workshop on ‘river and water management for sustainable development’ in Agartala in July last year.

Of the 11 rivers in the state, the most polluted ones are Howrah, flowing through Agartala in West Tripura district; Manu in Dhalai district; Burima in Sepahijala district; and Gomati river in Gomati district.

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