Nearly 50,000-1 lakh devotees bathe at the over 20 ghats of Haridwar every day and the number rises multi-folds on special occasions but beware as the Central Pollution Control Board has, in a reply to an RTI query said that the water of the river along Haridwar is not even fit for bathing and the Ganga water in Haridwar district fails almost all parameters of safety.
Tests were done at 11 locations
From Gangotri to Haridwar, a distance of 294km along the river, tests were done at 11 locations in Uttarakhand. The RTI query put by TOI sought details of water quality and locations from which samples are collected.
"Four main indicators of river including water quality temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), biological oxygen demand (BOD) and coliform (bacteria) were taken into account while examining and clinical tests of water samples showed high levels of BOD, coliform and other toxic materials around Haridwar district," told RM Bhardwaj, senior scientist of the CPCB. for bathing purposes BOD levels should be less than 3 mg per litre, say CPCB norms but the levels go up to more than double, 6.4 mg per litre in the river's water.
Water discharge quality needs to be monitored strictly
The severity of water pollution in Haridwar is also evident from the fact that it has high-level coliform presence. When for the bathing purpose, the coliform values should be 500 MPN/100ml or less, according to the CPCB norms, the total coliform value here is between 90 MPN (most probable number) per 100 ml to 1,600 MPN per 100 ml. Likewise, in Haridwar, the DO limit is 4 mg to 10.6 mg per litre against the acceptable limit of 5 mg per litre or more. Anil Joshi said, "Haridwar has emerged as an industrial and tourist hub and unless sewage treatment plants (STP) are installed and water discharge quality is monitored strictly, the ghats will continue to remain polluted."
Rating may be one of the cause
Several saints in Haridwar have vehemently opposed rafting in Ganga river as tourists too pollute the river by throwing garbage, waste in the river. Hundreds of rafts operate in the river regularly, without following safety norms. Some saints have even appealed the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister to stop rafting activities.