Maha Kumbh: Sangam water not fit for bathing, says Pollution Board
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Despite the tall claims of the UP government of providing pollution-free water at Sangam, Allahabad, devotees at Kumbh continue to take their holy dip in polluted water. The latest report of UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) at Sangam is around 5 mg/litre, much above the permissible limit of 3 mg/ltr. BOD is an indication of the organic quality of water and increases with pollution. The BOD level at Sangam was 7.4 mg/ltr on January 14 when over 82 lakh devotees took a dip in river as part of the first Shahi Snan.
UPPCB officials attributed the pollution to discharge of untreated domestic sewage into the Ganga and its tributaries from upstream districts. This despite the fact 201 industrial units had been closed in the past one month in Unnao, Kanpur, Kannauj and Farrukhabad.
"The maximum discharge of untreated sewage into the river is in Kanpur. It produces 426 million litre of sewage a day but only 171 MLD is being treated," said an UPPCB official. UP Jal Nigam MD A K Mittal said, "Pollution in the Ganga has been controlled for the Kumbh by tapping the drains but still untreated sewage is being discharged in some districts." He said no untreated sewage is being discharged in the Ganga or the Yamuna in Allahabad as most of the drains have been tapped. Officials said the BOD level was unlikely to come down in coming days. "The BOD level at Sangam remains comparatively low because the Yamuna river, which is less polluted, joins the Ganga at Sangam," said Rajiv Upadhyay, Chief Environment Officer of UPPCB.