In 21st century India river water pollution is at its peak. It is primary cause for both communicable as well as non-communicable diseases.

Some things attributed to so called 21st century that has increased this trend are:

  • Changing Industrial Setup
  • Haphazard Urbanisation
  • Increase in slums
  • Greed for growth at the cost of nature.

River Pollution basically means when river is characterised by high amount of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), high Metallic contamination and high number of Harmful Bacteria and Pathogens.

As per study conducted by IIT Kanpur some major reasons for Indian rivers being polluted are:

  • Indiscriminate sand mining and mismanagement of flood areas mainly by creating landfills or waste dumping.
  • Construction of Big Hydropower Projects which make lower catchment area of the river dry or completely stagnant which further results into river water pollution.
  • Release of warm water by thermal power plants into the rivers and they are also major cause for causing Lead contamination in the river waters.
  • Unsustainable mining and open cast mining is primary source of Mercury contamination in river waters.
  • Dumping of untreated waste directly from both urban and rural areas into the rivers.
  • Dumping of religious waste is another leading cause of pollution.
  • Construction debris into rivers.
  • Dumping of half burnt or unburnt dead bodies in rivers causes bacteria.
  • Irresponsible tourists and hotel industry dumps plastic into the rivers.
  • Deforestation especially in wetland areas and open defecation are some other causes listed for river water pollution.

Some of the Major River Water Pollutants are:

  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Nitrates
  • E Coli bacteria
  • Sulphur
  • Coliform

Three major fronts to tackle this problem are:

  • Attitudinal and behavioural Change
  • Legislation and Enforcement
  • Governance and Infrastructure

Two main legislations for this are:

  • Environment Protection Act, 1986
  • Prevention of River Water Rule

Some Government initiatives:

  • From time of Rajiv Gandhi , India has been working to control Ganga Water Pollution through GANGA ACTION PLAN by installing sewage treatment plants throughout Ganga Catchment Area.
  • DRDO’S BIO- DIGESTER to solve open defecation.
  • Move towards RIVER RUN PROJECTS
  • Apart from this Smart City Project talks about clustering of all slums near one place where municipalities will first treat the waste and then dump it.
  • Electronic Cremation
  • Afforestation through social forestry
  • River front development which will make river a lifeline for a city or village.
  • Strict implementation of: polluter should pay principle. Both in mining and industrial area.

All these not only talk about construction of sewage but also about imposition of penalties, zero discharge rule, regulation over fertilizers and insecticides over farms near river, promotion of organic fertilizers and construction of pakka toilets. RIVERS are not only source of water and life but they are symbol of BELIEF, ECOLOGY & PROSPERITY OF THE NATION that is INDIA.

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