Polluted flows the Bharalu...

Guwahatiians turn city lifeline into highly toxic sewage drain

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Feb 28: Latest surveys have revealed an alarming rise in the pollution level of Bharalu river which may pose serious health hazards to denizens of Guwahati.

Sources in the Pollution Control Board said the concentration of fecal coliform bacteria, a common microbiological contamint of tural water, in the river is around 20,000 Most Probable Number (MPN) per 100 ml. The maximum permissible limit and desirable limits for fecal coliform count for bathing waters is 500 MPN/100 ml.

This according to health experts could cause serious diseases, including diarrhea and other stomach-related ailments.

The biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the river is 52 mg per litre --- much in excess of the permissible limit set by the tiol River Conservation Directorate at 3 mg/litre.

Besides, the obnoxious smell generated by the river during the dry season is also hazardous to human health, the experts said.

Despite the alarming condition of the river, the State government is sitting on a modified DPR submitted by the Pollution Control Board outlining a slew of measures needed to clean the river. The modified DPR was submitted to the government in October last year.

Bharalu river had once provided potable water to thousands of people living on its banks. It was also a source of variety of fish and other aquatic flora and fau for the people.

It has now turned into a stagnt water body with high toxicity levels as it receives a large portion of the city's municipal, industrial and household wastes.

It is the most polluted Brahmaputra tributary and listed among the 71 most polluted rivers of the country.

It origites from the Basistha River in Meghalaya hills, flowing through Guwahati to debouch into the Brahmaputra.

It also serves as the tural draige for storm water runoff in large parts of the city.

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