A recent report from the Punjab Pollution Control Board claims that the water of the four rivers in the state has become so polluted that it is unfit for drinking.
The pollution watchdog, in its April 2016 report, said that water samples were collected from around 37 locations under the National Water Quality Monitoring (NWQM) programme.
The report mentions that the water of Sutlej river turns ‘B grade’, fit for bathing purpose, at the very point where it enters Punjab. At the same location, a few years ago, it used to be ‘A grade’ water. As the river flows through Ludhiana, a major industrial belt, the water deteriorates to ‘D Grade’, which can support wild life and fisheries. The water gets worst grade of ‘E’ further downstream when water from the Chitti Bein drains into it in Jalandhar. The water improves to ‘B’ grade with help fresh water from the Beas river near near Harike Pattan.
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With lesser water flow than the rest of the rivers and with cities along its banks emptying themselves into it, the water of the Ghaggar river remains between ‘C and D grade’.
As per the report, the Ravi river remains a healthy ‘B grade’ much of its flow is outside Punjab and in areas where habitation is scarce.
“This matter is very serious,” said Punjab Pollution Control Board Member (PPCB) member Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal. “It must be discussed throughout the year and not just in board meetings.”