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India's rivers benefit from lockdown

  • India's rivers benefit from lockdown

The Hindon, the Yamuna,  the Ganga...all of them in the Ganga basin, usually these rivers receive heavily polluted industrial discharges, but as industries have come to a halt in India, their water quality is showing signs of improvement. India started a nationwide lockdown on March 24 in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, to last 21 days.

Water quality in the Ganga shows a 40 to 50 per cent improvement, according to Dr. PK Mishra, professor of Chemical Engineering and Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, reports the Business Standard.

Locals in Kanpur and Varanasi have observed water quality improvements, though water levels in the river are low. They expect the Ganga to look clean once the water levels are higher.

The current situation is an opportunity to assess the impact of industrial pollutants on the river

Similarly, the waters of the Yamuna River, a tributary of the Ganga that flows through Delhi, also look more blue than ever. Although the relief is temporary, lessons may be learned from it. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will be doing a study on the change in river water quality, informs the Times of India.

A 22 km stretch of the Yamuna that flows through Delhi, less than 2% of its total length, accounts for 76% of the pollution in the river. Although industries are required to be connected to a common effluent treatment plant, last year the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation fined 910 industries for direct discharges into drains that flow into the Yamuna River.

The current situation is an opportunity to assess the impact of industrial pollutants on the river, in contrast with the impact of untreated sewage which currently continues to be discharged into surface waters.

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