To check pollution of Ulhas river, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), along with the NGO Vanashakti, will get its water samples tested. The move comes after Vanashakti filed a complaint in April to the board, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the ministry of
environment and forests that the effluents discharged from Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area in Dombivli (East) are depleting oxygen levels, increasing alkalinity and threatening the aquatic life in the river.
Vanshakti's initial tests showed that bio-chemical oxygen (BOD) levels in water samples collected near MIDC were 10 times higher than the safe limit of 100 milligram/litre set by CPCB.
Another water sample test carried out recently by the NGO reconfirmed high alkalinity and low levels of oxygen in the river water.
This week, MPCB informed the NGO that their independent test results would be studied to verify claims of heavy pollution.
MPCB's plan to do a joint sampling with MIDC officials, who operate the common effluent treatment plant, was rejected by Vanashakti.
“The purpose of a joint sampling is to conduct a surprise check without allowing the industries from MIDC to dilute their effluents.
Hence, we have requested MPCB to carry out the testing without MIDC officials during a dry spell,” said Ashwin Aghor, project officer, Save Ulhas River Project Vanashakti.
The river pollution has affected people living near the drains that carry effluents to the river
Dr Yojana Naphade, who runs a clinic in Ramchandra Nagar Dombivli (East), said, “I had written to MPCB on health problems caused by effluents but received no reply. We have treated patients who have complained of vomitting and respiratory disorders because of this Students of Swami Vivekanand College, which is situated close to a drain, face regular health problems because of water pollution.”