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Pune’s rivers, nullahs running out of breath

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 - 10:53am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Pune: You are living in a city with water bodies which have minimal oxygen in them. This is mainly due to the untreated water released in the rivers and nullahs. The latest environment status report (ESR) published by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has mentioned that the quality of water in the rivers is so bad that it can be used only for agriculture or industrial purpose.
Interestingly, in last year's ESR, the civic body had claimed that the quality of water was not as polluted as to harm the biodiversity in Mula-Mutha river.
The ESR tabled in the general body meeting of PMC on Monday mentions that the level of Dissolved Oxygen (DO) in Mula-Mutha river is good enough when it enters the city. However, as it reaches the heart of the city, the DO level starts going down. The DO level at Erandwane, SM Joshi bridge, Sawarkar bridge is much lower compared to the standard specified by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The level of Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) is also much higher than the specified limit of CPCB. In case of BOD, CPCB has set a permissible limit of 30 milligram per litre. However, when it comes to BOD in Mutha river, the level increases as the river passes through city limits. The level of BOD is particularly high in areas like Erandwane and Railway bridge. Interestingly, in last year's ESR, PMC had mentioned that the level of BOD had come down and it was below 30 milligram per litre which makes the water safe for under-water species. This indicates that this year river water pollution is on the rise.
River water is categorised as A-1, A-2, A-3 and A-4 as per the quality of water based on the BOD, DO and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) levels. The category is decided as per state government's River Regulatory Zone (RRZ) policy and the ESR mentions that the city's rivers are categorised under A-4 as it is useful only for agriculture and industrial use and not for drinking and domestic purpose.
The ESR also mentions that not only the Mula-Mutha river but also the nullahs, namely Ambil odha, Nagzari and Bhairoba nullahs, have polluted water as the COD level of the water in them is much higher than the permissible limit.
The only encouraging sign for Punekars is that the water quality of Katraj and Pashan lakes is much better than that of rivers and nullahs in the city.


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