Water Quality in the lower stretches of the River Ganga was found to be in an alarming situation, claimed a team of scientists from the Integrative Taxonomy and Microbial Ecology Research Group (ITMERG) at IISER Kolkata.
The team had examined the water quality in the lower stretch of River Ganga and observed the release of municipal waste in River Ganga has deteriorated the much-needed baseline of Water Quality Index (WQI) in the lower stretches of the Ganga river.
The team led by Professor Punyasloke Bhadury said the rapid human pressure and anthropogenic activities have resulted in the release of untreated municipal and industrial sewage along with other forms of pollutants in the River Ganga.
He said the lower stretches of the River Ganga, close to the megapolis Kolkata, are heavily influenced by anthropogenic factors, mainly due to intense population pressure on both sides of the river banks.
“As a result, there has been a marked increase in the discharge of untreated municipal and industrial sewages in the lower stretch of River Ganges with consequences for many unique and biodiversity ecosystems including the Sundarbans mangrove and endangered charismatic species mainly the Gangetic Dolphin,” said a senior officer of the Ministry of Science and Technology while quoting the observations of the ITMERG team.
The team has monitored nine sites encompassing 59 stations along a 50 kms stretch of the lower stretches of the River Ganga over two years to understand the dynamics of key environmental variables including forms of dissolved nitrogen along with biological proxies to assess the state of health of Ganga.
Their study has shown that WQI values of this stretch of the River was between 14–52 and was continuously deteriorating irrespective of the season of sampling.
“They have also identified the point source along with the type of pollutants, in particular forms of nitrogen with effect on biota along the 50 km stretch that required immediate intervention for effective river basin management,” the Ministry said, which has supported the study and published the report in the prestigious international journal “Environment Research Communications”.