Maha Kumbh: 'Sangam water unfit for bath'

Report Despite efforts, sewage discharge polluting Ganga

Despite tall claims of the Uttar Pradesh government of providing pollution-free water at Sangam in Allahabad, devotees are still taking the holy dip in highly polluted water.

According to the latest report of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD) at Sangam is above the permissible limit of 3 milligram per litre and is hovering around 5 milligram per litre.

BOD is a key indicator of pollution and it increases with rise in pollution. For outdoor bathing, the standard BOD level should be 3 mg/litre. But at Sangam, the BOD level was as high as 7.4 mg/litre on January 14, the first Shahi Snan at Kumbh when more than 82 lakh devotees took a dip in the river. The BOD level the next day was 6 mg/litre. It was 5.3 mg/litre on the second Shahi Snan on January 27, when 40 lakh devotees took bath.

UPPCB officials said the water was polluted at Sangam because of discharge of untreated domestic sewage into the Ganga and its tributaries upstream, although 201 industrial units, including distilleries, paper mills, slaughterhouses and tanneries had been closed in the past one month in several districts upstream, including Unnao, Kanpur, Kannauj and Farrukhabad.

"The maximum discharge of untreated sewage in Ganga is in Kanpur. The total sewage generation in the city is 426 million litre per day (MLD) and only 171 MLD of that is being treated," said an UPPCB official.

Around 26 MLD sewage in Unnao and 32 MLD in Farrukhabad is being discharged in Ganga untreated.

UP Jal Nigam Managing Director A K Mittal said, "Pollution in the Ganga has been controlled in view of the Kumbh by tapping the drains, but untreated sewage is still being discharged in the river in some districts." Mittal said.

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