Take a holy dip, but avoid a sip

In any case, the people should not drink the water as it is, says a pollution board official.— File photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar  

The Hindus believe in taking a holy dip in the River Krishna during pushkarams to cleanse their sins. A dip in the river here, especially during the fete, may wash away their sins, but is likely to leave them with a host of health problems.

The river festival participants are at risk of exposure to faecal contamination and related enteric pathogens as the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) has found that the river water contains faecal coli forms, a type of bacteria originating in faeces that can cause several health hazards.

“The very presence of faecal coli form is unsafe for drinking the water as it is. Unless the water is treated in a prescribed manner, it is not potable,” says a PCB official, who didn’t want to be quoted.

According to information, the PCB found that the faecal coliform is 2 MPN (most probable number) per 100 ml. The total coliform (TC) is 800 MPN per 100 ml and these are the findings of recently conducted tests. The TC up to 500 MPN can be used for bathing but not fit for drinking, sources say.

The Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) levels, which are used as a measure of the level of organic pollution in the water, however, are 0.6 mg/l. This is considered to be in permissible limits as of now. But, it will increase with lakhs of people taking the dip. The BOD should not exceed 3 mg per litre, sources say.

About three crore pilgrims are expected to participate in the river festival. The pilgrims, who come from all over the State, bathe in the river, most drink a few drops of the Krishna water and many fill bottles to take home with them.

They offer oblations to Sun god and perform pinda pradaanam , paying obeisance to departed elders and loved ones, and other rituals apart from a holy dip. The people drink river water as a way of achamana, partaking of water in small quantities, while paying oblations and doing other rituals. But, the PCB official cautions, “In any case, the people should not drink the water as it is. They can take a dip.”

“In any case, the people should not drink the water as it is. ”

Pollution board official

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 8:11:53 PM |

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