Avoid dip in Ganga river during Chatth, says expert

Three days before Chatth festival, during which thousands of devotees take a holy dip in the river Ganga and offer tribute to the sun god, environmentalists have cautioned that the water near Patna should be strictly avoided as it is unfit for bathing and drinking.  The bacterial load in the river has reached an all-time high thereby making it unhealthy for human use.

According to a study conducted by noted environmentalist and member of the Ganga River Basin Authority (which is chaired by the Prime Minister) Prof R K Sinha, the number of total coliform (TC) bacteria and faecal coliform (FC) bacteria at Collectorate Ghat in Patna is over 1,60,000 most probable number (mpn)/100 ml of Ganga water.

While the permissible limit of TC and FC in the Ganga water is 2500 and 500 respectively, the team led by Sinha, who is a professor of zoology in Patna University, conducted yet another study near Anta Ghat. They found that water collected from there too had 1,60,000 TC and 50,000 FC, which was way much more than the permissible limit.

“We surveyed Ganga from Chausa in Buxar (western Bihar) to Sahebganj (in eastern Bihar) and found 30 carcasses and nearly a dozen dead bodies floating between Danapur and Fatuha (a stretch of 50 km), which provided us the clearest evidence as to why there is an enormous increase in bacterial load,” said Prof Sinha, who has done extensive research on persistent organic pollutants, Ganga ecosystem, river and wetland ecology.

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