Pradeep Pattanayak

Considered the lifeline of Odisha, the Mahanadi River seems to be struggling for survival. Excess pollution is said to be the bane of its existence. 

In Sambalpur, if you look at its water even through the naked eye, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that its water has already turned unfit for any kind of use. 

In February, the State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) collected samples from four places of the river and after testing, categorised it under Class ‘C’. It means, the river’s water is not fit for consumption or any kind of use and it has jaundice bacteria. 

But, due to ignorance, some people are still using its water. 

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As per local people, sewage water is discharged to the river at places like Balibandham Binakhandi and Sadakghata. Similarly, factories are releasing their effluents to the Hirakud dam. 

In the peak of Summer, it is feared that the pollution level in the river would increase manifold.
“Our examination puts its water under category C. It means the water is not fit for bathing. In Sambalpur, a sewage treatment plant with 40 MLD capacity is under construction at Dhanupali. Once it is completed, the sewage water will be treated here before release into the river,” said regional officer of OSPCB, Dr Satya Nanda. 

Expressing concerns, a Sambalpur resident, Siba Prasad Meher said, “All the municipality drains are discharging the town’s sewage water into the river. Plants and factories are releasing their effluents. Here, the district administration should play an important role in saving the river.”

The river’s condition in Boudh is no better either. Piles of garbage on its banks are testimony to its condition. 

“All are using the river as their dustbins. Starting from households to hospitals to factories, all are dumping their garbage into it.  Because of this, the water of the river has become polluted,” said Debasish Purohit, a Boudh resident.

No comments were received from the concerned district administrations.

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