New Delhi: Most of the Ganga river water in the Uttar Pradesh-West Bengal stretch is unfit for drinking and bathing, a map released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has indicated.
The National Green Tribunal last month directed the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to install display boards at a gap of 100 km to indicate whether the water was fit for bathing or drinking.
It also asked the NMCG and the CPCB to upload on their website, within two weeks, a prominent map showing where the water was good for bathing and drinking.
In compliance with the National Green Tribunal’s direction, the CPCB uploaded the map which showed most of the length of the Ganga river dotted in red.
Other than stretches in Uttarakhand and a couple of places as the river enters Uttar Pradesh that are marked in green, the river water is unfit for drinking or bathing the whole way till it drains into the Bay of Bengal in West Bengal barring one spot at the border of UP and Bihar of Arrah.
Water activist Manoj Misra said coliform levels indicate the presence of dangerous bacteria in the water and if it is below 500 then it could be suitable for drinking by boiling. The coliform level showed in the map is 10 times the permissible limit for drinking, he said.
The map ‘Sustainability of River Ganga Water’ on the website uses the criteria of dissolved oxygen (more than 6 mg/litre), biochemical oxygen demand (less than 2 mg/litre), total coliform levels (5000 per 100 ml) and pH (range between 6.5 and 8.5) to assess the health of the river.
The 2,525 km river rises in the western Himalaya in Uttarakhand and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of north India. After entering West Bengal, it divides into two rivers: the Hooghly and the Padma. The Hooghly flows through several districts of West Bengal and into the Bay of Bengal near Sagar Island.