In a bid to tackle pollution in several river stretches across the state, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has roped in a Mumbai-based expert, who will submit a report documenting the causes as well as the steps needed to improve the situation.
Senior environmental scientist and GPCB Chairman KU Mistry said that acclaimed environmental engineering expert Deepak Kantawala has been appointed to study the polluted river stretches in Gujarat. "Kantawala is a Mumbai based retired professor who is having great expertise in handling such issues. To find out the status of polluted river stretches of Gujarat, he has been appointed by GPCB to give his expert advise," said Mistry. Kantawala has already started his work.
The appointment came after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) identified 150 polluted river stretches in the country with Maharasthra and Gujarat topping the list.
During the UPA regime in December 2013, former Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had told the Rajya Sabha that CPCB has identified 150 polluted stretches along various rivers in the country based on Bio-chemical-Demand (BOD).
Among these, 19 polluted stretches have been found in Gujarat, which was second after Maharashtra, having 28 such polluted stretches. However, Mistry claimed that Gujarat is having only seven such polluted river stretches.
"At present, we are having only seven such polluted river stretches which needs improvement. These stretches include Sabarmati stretch in Ahmedabad and Daman Ganga near Vapi. Our expert will oversee the sample collection and lab testing of waters in these stretches," said Mistry. "The scope of the expert's work include finding out the spots which are responsible for the pollution, degree of pollution, whether it increased over a period of time, if yes than what are the sources of such pollution, etc."
Since pollution levels change as per seasons, the data collection and analysis will take considerable time, said another GPCB official.
"We will chart out our action-plan to cleanse these stretches after we receive the status report from the expert. Pollution keeps changing each season," said Mistry. "Thus for accurate analysis, the expert needs to take two samples in each season, one in the beginning and one in the end of season. We expect to get the report within a span of eight months to one year."