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Gujarat rivers' highly toxic discharge cause 'great risk' to livelihood in towns, villages

By Our Representative 

In a letter to the chairman and member-secretary, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Government of India’s anti-pollution watchdog, and to officials its Gujarat counterpart, senior environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), have said that one of the state’s biggest rivers, Mahisagar, which flows off the state's cultural capital Vadodara, has turned into “disaster in motion.”
Forwarding videos and photographs taken on March 28, 2021 of the river at village Dabka, Padra talula,Vadodara district, in a letter they told the senior officials that these “raise basic questions for the concerned authorities about their commitment to stop polluting the rivers” which are “dying” in Gujarat, as river pollution “has reached at irreversible levels.”
The letter regrets, Mahisagar river as also Sabarmati, which flows through Ahmedabad, discharge pollution approximately at an identical spot in the Gulf of Khambhat. Both carry “high concentration of sewage and industrial effluents, which gets continuously and unabatedly dumped into Gulf of Khambhat, round the clock”, it adds.
“This confluence is particularly alarming and worrisome as we fear that the tidal activities in the Gulf of Khambhat drive the highly toxic and polluted waters inland at the estuaries of Mahisagar and Sabarmati rivers, causing tremendous risk to the settlements, villages, towns, lives, and livelihoods in that region”, the environmentalists say.
The letter suspects, “It is possible that effluent discharged through River Sabarmati into Gulf of Khambhat may also be finding its way up in the Mahisagar River as indicated by floating chemical foam entering the Mahisagar with the tides.”
Pointing out that “continuous and voluminous discharge of untreated effluents and sewage” has been going on for “a period of more than three decades, which might form toxic sediments in the stretches along the Gulf of Khambhat”, the letter blames the Vadodara Enviro Channel Limited’s “continued non-compliance of Gujarat Pollution Control board (GPCB) prescribed norms for this.
Urging CPCB and GPCB authorities “to take prompt action and investigate the matter in utmost urgency through a technically sound and independent committee of experts, with close monitoring on a daily basis”, the environmentalists warn, “If you are unable to stop the pollution”, it would amount to the contempt of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal orders, and would result in “suitable further action on our part.”

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