Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate and Change, recently released a report on April 28 which focused on the impact of the lockdown on the water quality of river Ganga. The report highlighted that due to a decrease in industrial activities and a decrease in domestic wastewater, the quality of water in the river has improved.
CPCB analysis to assess impact of lockdown on water quality of river Ganga reveals some improvement due to closure of industries, dilution, reduced human activities, but sewage does contribute significantly.@CPCB_OFFICIAL @moefcchttps://t.co/xoD3Ttq9Ku— Dr. Prashant Gargava (@DrGargava) April 28, 2020
The report explains that the lockdown has resulted in "overall improvement in water quality of River Ganga especially with regards to increased Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and reduced nitrate concentration." The report suggests that the absence of industrial wastewater discharge, agricultural runoff, and increased fresh flow has led to an improvement in the quality.
A decrease in the flow of domestic use of water from as many as 97 towns on the banks of the river has also resulted in an increase in the quality of water.
"Industrial effluent is estimated to be about 300 MLD, which is about 9% of total wastewater being discharged into the river every day. Reduced activities at Ghats and entrainment of solid organic waste into the river may also have contributed to better water quality," the report read.
Earlier, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that the Ganga water up to Rishikesh was made potable even before the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed. Shekhawat said he asked all the stakeholders and officials, to collect samples of water for examination. The Jal Shakti Minister further said that the initial reports suggest there has been some improvement in the water quality.
The CPCB report also stated that the tributaries of Ganga showed similar trends to Ganga and that there was not much significant improvement in the drains discharging into river Ganga.