Meerut: Alarming as it may sound but a recent study has revealed the presence of dangerously high levels of heavy metals in Kali river (east). The study, conducted by NEER foundation, an NGO, found high levels of lead and iron in the river water, which also lead to groundwater contamination. The water samples were collected from villages to eight districts namely Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Kaasganj, Farukhabad and Kannauj. The villages are situated on the banks of the rivers.
The water samples were later sent for testing at the Dehradun based People’s science Institute (PSI). The findings revealed that high levels of metals could cause groundwater contamination as several villages are located within 2-3 km radius of the river.
If this remains unchecked, it could lead to a public health crisis in future. Kali river, a tributary of the Ganga, originates in Muzaffarnagar district and merges with the Ganga in Kannauj district after passing through a stretch of more than 300 km. Elaborating on the findings, Anil Gautam of the PSI said, “It is an irony that the tributary rivers of Ganga are extremely polluted. Their water can not be used for irrigation purposes.”
Discussing the issue, Raman Tyagi, director of NEER foundation, said, “On the one hand, the central government is running campaigns such as ‘Namami Gange’ to make the Ganga pollution free, but on the other, the government is least concerned about its tributary rivers, which are being badly polluted due to polluting units along rivers such as distilleries , sugar mills and industries. Until the tributary rivers are not made pollution- free, all efforts of ‘Namami Gange’ will be useless.”
Tyagi said discussions with villagers and doctors of respective villages, from where the water samples were collected, had also revealed that a large number of villagers were suffering from stomach ailments, brain disorders and even cancer.
“doctors revealed that a large number of people had died due to cancer owing to ground water contamination but the same not been reported by the health department,” added Tyagi.
The Permissible Limits :
· According to Indian standard is ;pH( 6.5- 8.5 ), Total Dissolved solids (500 mg/L), lead (0.01 mg/L), iron (0.3 mg/L)
· The study, conducted by NEER foundation, an NGO, found high levels of lead and iron in the river water, which also contaminate ground water.
Several people in the villages are suffering from stomach ailments, brain disorders and even cancer. Despite this, the issue has not been reported by the health department.