The Namami Gange Project which cost Rs. 20,000 crore for conserving, cleaning and rejuvenating the Ganga has not been able to achieve the targets. Meanwhile, as per a Varanasi based Sankat Mochan Foundation, a rise has been seen in coliform bacteria and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), which are important parameters for evaluating the quality of water.
The project was launched in May 2015 and PM Modi had set 2019 as the deadline as to achieve the cleanliness of Ganga. Nitin Gadkari had further extended the deadline to March 2020, which is exactly a year from now.
The NGO, Sankat Mochan Foundation has monitored Ganga’s quality since 1986 when Rajiv Gandhi had launched Ganga Action Plan. The foundation its own laboratory to analyse the Ganga Water samples.
Coliform organisms in drinking water should be 50MPN per 100 ml, while in outdoor bathing water, it should be 500MPN per 100 ml. On the other hand, BOD should be less than 3 mg per litre.
The Tulsi Ghat data collected by SMF sounds like bad news due to high levels of bacterial pollution.
As per the data, the count of faecal coliform increased from 4.5 lakh (upstream at Nagwa) in January 2016 to 3.8 crore in February 2019 and 5.2 crore (downstream in Varuna) in Jan 2016 to 14.4 crore (downstream) in Feb 2019.
A rise in BOD level has also been seen from 46.8-54mg/l to 66-78mg/ l from January 2016 to February 2019. Not only this, the level of dissolved oxygen (DO), should be 6mg/l or more, but it reduced from 2.4mg/l to 1.4mg/l during this time.
The presence of coliform bacteria in Ganga water on the higher side is not good at all for our health, as per SMF President VN Mishra, who is also an IIT BHU professor. Faecal coliform is usually found in the faeces and guts of mammals. Meanwhile, E Coli, which is a species of coliform bacteria, is the best indicator of feacal pollution along with the potential presence of pathogens which are disease causing.
On the other hand, some improvement was seen in tapping discharge of sewage in Ganga during this time.
Image Credit: Indian Express