‘Arasalar river highly polluted’

CAUSE FOR CONCERN:The stretch of Arasalar downstream of Karaikal and Chunnambar had high concentrations of nitrate and chromium, said the CAG. —FILE PHOTO  

The rapid rate of pollution of the Arasalar river has been highlighted by the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), which was tabled in the Puducherry Assembly on Thursday.

Citing the findings of a comprehensive study (2013-14) by Pandit Jawaharalal Nehru College of Agriculture and Research Institute, Karaikal, the CAG observed that tests revealed that the river stretch downstream of Karaikal and Chunnambar had high concentrations of nitrate and chromium due to mixing of sewage water into the river stream and industrial activities respectively.

The Central Pollution Control Board had, as early as July 2013, identified Arasalar river as polluted, with the average Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) value of 7 mg/1 higher than the prescribed level of 6 mg/1 and directed remedial action. After the Puducherry Pollution Control Committee (PPCC) submitted a test report showing nil BOD value, fresh sampling that was undertaken established that both river stretches were polluted by high concentrations of nitrate/chromium and high BOD levels.

While Puducherry region generated about 45 mld of waste water, the three Sewage Treatment Plants of the PWD had a capacity to treat only 17.5 mld of waste water, the CAG said.

Moreover, in areas not covered by underground drainage systems, accumulated sullage was being let directly into erstwhile irrigation canals.

There were 19 such canals in the region which ferried blackish sullage water into the sea, the report said.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences had also confirmed during 2012-15 that Puducherry shore locations possessed significantly high levels of pathogenic bacteria and expressed concern that continued discharge of domestic sullage would endanger species in the water bodies.

The CAG also ticked off the PPCC for non-functioning of the Water Quality Review Committee.

The committee which was to meet every quarter to examine and discuss specific water quality related tasks had held its last meeting in December 2003.

The CAG also found shortcomings in air pollution monitoring even though the Union government had notified the Union Territory as an area for air pollution control in 1988.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 3:51:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/%E2%80%98Arasalar-river-highly-polluted%E2%80%99/article14630672.ece

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