While Beas has emerged as the cleanest river of the state during the lockdown, river Sutlej has not shown any improvement downstream from Budha Nallah in Ludhiana. This is majorly due to discharge of untreated domestic waste into the river at Ludhiana, and also decrease in water flow downstream from here in April.
A comparative study of river water quality was conducted between March 20 and April 2o by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) under the National Water Monitoring Programme (NWMP).
As part of the study, water quality of Sutlej was monitored from Upstream Nangal to Downstream Hussianiwala and Beas was monitored from Talwara headworks up to Harike to know the impact of shutdown of industrial and institutional activities. The results were divided in five categories or classes – A (best for drinking after disinfection with chlorine or bleaching powder), B (best for bathing), C (fit for drinking after proper treatment), D (fit for fish and wildlife) and E (suitable for industrial cooling and irrigation).
The nationwide lockdown began on March 24, and was later extended to last till May 3.
Data sourced from the PPCB revealed that Sutlej water was in Class B category, which is designated as best use classification, at five locations out of 12 from Nangal to Kiratpur Sahib (Ropar district) and it was recorded ‘C’,’D’,’E’ categories at seven locations. At Ropar headworks it turned into ‘C’ class and remained the same upstream Budha Nullah in Ludhiana.
At Budha Nallah confluence it turns into ‘E’ category and then it becomes ‘D’ class at Boat Bridge, Dharamkot in Nakodar road (Jalandhar) and then again turns into ‘E’ category at East Bein, a water rivulet, and finally its water becomes ‘C’ class at Harike where it meets with Beas river.
Dr. S S Marwaha, chairman, PPCB said that it is clear from the results of river monitoring of Sutlej that the Biochemical Oxygen Demand level (high BOD indicates severe pollution) during lockdown has not reduced downstream of Buddha Nallah and downstream of East Bein despite industrial activities coming to a near total halt. Buddha Nallah, which flows into Sutlej in Ludhiana, has a BOD of 190 mg/litre in April, against permissible 30 mg/litre. It was 180 mg/per litre in February.
“These days, only domestic waste water is flowing in the Budha Nullah, which is the carrier of wastewater of Ludhiana city. Due to lockdown, all the industrial, commercial, institutional activities of Ludhiana city are shut and no wastewater is being discharged by them.
Accordingly, the flow in Budha Nullah has also decreased from 600 MLD (million liter a day) to 475 MLD,” said PPCB Member Secretary PPCB Engineer Krunesh Garg. He added that there results show marginal increase of BOD in April as compared to February.
Dr. Marwaha said Beas remains cleanest in the state and has shown further improvement in water quality in April. Water quality of river Beas remains ‘B’ category at all the locations in the month of March and April.
The TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) level of Beas water remains between 149 mg/litre to 181 mg/litre at all the 10 locations of monitoring. According to WHO, TDS level less than 300mg/liter is considered as excellent
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