Major rivers in State highly polluted: KSPCB

Think twice before you directly drink water from any river in the State.

A recent study conducted by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on the prime rivers in the State, including the River Cauvery, shows they are polluted at various points and the water is not fit for consumption.

The study was conducted between April and December 2013 on the rivers Cauvery, Tungabhadra, Kabini, Krishna, Malaprabha, Ghataprabha, Shimsha, Bhima, Lakshmanatirtha, Arkavathi, Hemavathi, Bhadra, Pennar, Manjra, Nethravathi, Yagachi, Kumaradhara, Kagina, Asangi Nalla and Kali.

The study has defined river contamination and has ranked them into five categories—drinking water source without conventional treatment but after disinfection (rated as A); outdoor bathing (B); drinking water source with conventional treatment followed by disinfection (C); propagation of wildlife and fisheries (D) and irrigation, industrial cooling, controlled waste disposal (E).

The average ranking of most rivers in the State is ‘C’ or ‘E’, including river Cauvery which has an average ranking of ‘C’. Cauvery river at Ranganathittu and Arkavathi at TG Halli Reservoir was ranked ‘E’ all through the study period. Only the average ranking of Nethravati, upstream of Dharmasthala, is ranked ‘A’.

In the report, Ulsoor lake which falls under Cauvery Basin has been given ‘E’ rating during most months of the study period followed by River Hebbala at Hebbala Valley near Mandya. No water was found downstream the Rivers Pennar (Pinakini) and Arkavathy at Gauribidanur and Hesaraghatta reservoir, respectively.

A senior KSPCB official pointed out that the rivers were polluted due to the discharge of industrial effluents, sewage, dumping of waste and other pollutants into the rivers. Despite repeated warnings and awareness programmes, waste is entering the water bodies. Due to this, the water is not fit for consumption and it is also contaminating the groundwater.

Reacting to this, noted environmentalist Suresh Heblikar said, “The KSPCB should take legal action against the polluters. Rivers are vital eco-systems. They are a source of livelihood for many and also support irrigation. Thus, the rivers should be free of pollution. This should be taken as a strict warning by the government.”

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