Ramakanta Biswas

River pollution is plaguing Odisha with water quality of most of the rivers flowing in the state turning extremely contaminated and toxic, as per the report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).   

The CPCB report submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said Gangua Nala in Bhubaneswar is the most polluted river in Odisha. Gangua Nala has 19.9 mg of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) per litre of water. Water is considered to be polluted if the amount of BOD is more than 3 mg. 

Before, OTV team also carried out a survey and was baffled to see how it is struggling for its existence.

Similarly, Brahmani River between Rourkela and Biritol is also polluted. The BOD level in this stretch of the river is 6.3 mg. 

As per the report, Gurudiha Nala of Rourkela and Daya River on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, Mangagala of Puri and Kathajori rivers are also polluted. 

The NGT in its order suggested the MoJS to devise an appropriate mechanism for more effective monitoring of steps for control of pollution and rejuvenation of all polluted river stretches in the country. The said mechanism may be called “National River Rejuvenation Mechanism” (NRRM) or given any other suitable name. 

“NRRM may also consider the observations with regard to setting up of National/State/District Environment Data Grid at appropriate levels as an effective monitoring strategy,” the tribunal said. 

“Chief Secretaries of all States/UTs and PCBs/PCCs must work in mission mode for strict compliance of timelines for commencing new projects, completing ongoing projects and adopting interim phyto/bio-remediation measures, failing which compensation in terms of earlier orders be deposited with the MoJS, to be utilised in the respective States as per action plan to be approved by the NRRM,” it said.

The tribunal further said, “Other steps in terms of action plans for abatement of pollution and rejuvenation of rivers, including preventing discharge or dumping of liquid and solid waste, maintaining flow, protecting floodplains, using treated sewage for secondary purposes, developing biodiversity parks, protecting water bodies, regulating ground water extraction, water conservation, maintaining water quality etc. be taken effectively.”