Andhra Pradesh

Water quality of Krishna River deteriorating, says ANU review

Environmental pollution is taking a toll on the quality of Krishna River water, if the survey conducted by the biological science experts of Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU) is any indication.

The experts have expressed concern over the rapid deterioration in the water quality and its impact on the fauna.

ANU scientists reviewed the data related to the samples collected from the river over a decade and shared the same with The Hindu on the eve of the World Environment Day which is celebrated on June 5 every year.

Krishna River is the lifeline for many towns and thousands of villages as it caters to the domestic, industrial and irrigation needs of several districts through which it flows.

However, the scientists said that the water was getting polluted, affecting the fauna and the food chain of the river eco-system.

The survey findings assume significance in the wake of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) giving a rap on the knuckles of the the State government for dumping sewage directly into the river and allowing indiscriminate sand mining on its banks.

Pollution doubles

The ANU scientists, in its review of data, have found a steep increase in Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), an important quality parameter, at the points where the river crosses towns and rise in alkalinity (pH) at points where the river crossed the villages.

High BOD and alkalinity, as it signifies increased levels of pollution, have an adverse impact on the food chain.

“The water quality of Krishna River has deteriorated with the polluting parameters doubling in the last decade. The pollution levels have increased phenomenally days after when the river is the focus of activity such as pushkarams and auspicious days when thousands take holy dip in it,” suggest the findings.

The Krishna River is known for its bio-diversity. ANU Zoology faculty member and expert in micro-crustaceans (prawn family) Shabuddin Shaik said that the university team, in the last decade, found 27 new invertebrates (animals without backbones), mostly crustaceans in the river, of which 15 were found in the section of the river that passes through Vijayawada city, precisely at the ferry point at Ibrahimpatnam and Yenamalakudu village which has been engulfed by the city in a decade.

Threat to livelihoods

“The micro-crustaceans which are important feed for fish have come down drastically. As a result, the catch and the size of fish too have come down drastically, affecting the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen.

Further, the mangrove forests at the river mouth, now protected as the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS), is rich in biodiversity.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it, has classified the KWS as a ‘Category IV’ area connotes to a habitat of species that requires management.

Food chain hit

“The Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary has now a small population of endangered Fishing Cats which prey on fish species. These mammals that are on the top of the food chain will perish if the fish population in the river keeps diminishing,” the scientist observed.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:56:43 PM |

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