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The pollution in rivers is increasing: Source Government data

The pollution in rivers is increasing: Source Government data

In the beginning of 2019 India’s minister of states in the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) Mahesh Sharma revealed to the parliament that polluted river stretches across the country has increased in the past few years.

Polluted river stretches have increased over the years in southern states more.

Who watches over water pollution in India?

The central pollution control board (CPCB) associates with State pollution Control Boards to monitor water quality of rivers across the country.

However, under State pollution control board there comes the National Water Quality Program, under which there is a network of monitoring stations. These monitoring stations collect data.

What are the key indicators of River Pollution?

The key indicator which is often used by the government agencies is based on bio- chemical Oxygen (BOD) levels. The BOD is a key indicator of organic pollution.

Effluents reduce the oxygen content of water bodies because it is used up by chemicals in the decomposition process. This fall in oxygen levels kills fish and other creatures.

What is the Reason for Pollution in Rivers?

Most of the pollution in Indian river is done by sewage and garbage.  The attitude of people towards rivers remains bad where pouring anything into river does not matter. Big industries, also don’t even care about the rivers because first they are unaware of the problems created by the pollution.

Rivers are facing lack flow, pollution, encroachments, unsustainable mining, and destruction of habitat. In mountains, streams are running dry for most of the time, while in urban areas they are overloaded with pollution.
Disasters in 2019

Is it possible to get all rivers clean by 2030?

India’s dream to clean its river by 2030 seems almost impossible. 'Cleaning rivers' target remain a distant dream as the government’s on own data reveals that the number of polluted stretches of rivers across the country has increased in the last few years and the ambitious plan to clean river Ganga is yet to yield concrete results.

While outlining the government’s vision for 2030 in the interim budget 2019-2020 in the parliament in February 2019, the government has worked vigorously for cleaning River Ganga. 

States with Number of Pollution Rivers

One of India’s most industrialized states, Maharashtra was the worst at keeping its rivers clean; accounting for 16% of the country’s polluted river stretches in five years to 2012, show government data.

Maharashtra had two to three times the number if polluted stretches than the next four worst states: Assam (28), Madhya Pradesh (21), Gujarat (20) and West Bengal (17). Together, the top five polluting states accounted for 45% of India’s polluted river stretches between 2008 and 2012.

Toxic waste has been choking Maharashtra’s rivers, and fishing communities complain that their daily catch is only 10% of what it used to be.

       Role of National Green Tribunal in cleaning rivers

On 11th April 2019 The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has formed a central monitoring committee to prepare and enforce a national plan to make over 350 river stretches pollution free across the country.
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The committee would comprise representative of NITI Aayog; secretaries of Ministry of water resources, Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Environment; the director general of National Mission for Clean Ganga and the Central Pollution Control Board chairman.

The committee will also coordinate with the river rejuvenation committees of the states and oversee the execution of the action plans, taking into account the timelines, budgetary mechanism and other factors.

Chief Secretaries of states would be the nodal agency at the state level.

NGT directed the Ministry of environment to consider a policy for giving environmental awards to outstanding persons (natural and juristic) and institutions of states and introducing “dis-incentives” for non-compliant states.

The central monitoring committee may consider identifying experts, best practices and models for use of treated water, including plan to supply untreated sewage for a price or otherwise so that the concerned needy party can treat and utilize such water as is reportedly being done at Surat in Gujarat, Nagpur in Maharashtra and Bhilwada in Rajasthan or any other place.

Use of polluted water in irrigation is a threat to the health of human beings apart from the aquatic flora and fauna. Hence it is necessary to have a regular hygienic survey of the rivers particularly with reference to pathogenic organisms having an impact on human health directly or indirectly and it is necessary to note that biological health of the rivers is an important aspect.

There has to be a regular study of the Indian rovers with regard to biological health and its diversity.

The NGT has issued the order after taking note of the article “More river stretches are now critically polluted.

Why should we stop river pollution?

Pollution kills water plants and animals.

Polluted water also carries diseases. When animals drink the water, they may get diseases which can kill them. People can even get these diseases by eating the infected animal. This happens a lot in poor countries in Africa where people get untreated water directly from the river. 

How can we stop water pollution?

The problem is very complicated and people take pollution in river very lightly. Like NGT has played its role, there are certain things which should be followed by people and government. Three different things that can help to tackle the problem—education, laws, and economics—and they work together as a team.


Making people aware of the problem is the first step to solving it. In the early 1990s, when surfers in Britain grew tired of catching illnesses from water polluted with sewage, they formed a group called Surfers Against Sewage to force governments and water companies to clean up their act.

 People who've grown tired of walking the world's polluted beaches often band together to organize community beach-cleaning sessions. Anglers who no longer catch so many fish have campaigned for tougher penalties against factories that pour pollution into our rivers. Greater public awareness can make a positive difference.


One of the biggest problems with water pollution is its transboundary nature. Many rivers cross countries, while seas span whole continents. 

Pollution discharged by factories in one country with poor environmental standards can cause problems in neighbouring nations, even when they have tougher laws and higher standards.

Environmental laws can make it tougher for people to pollute, but to be really effective they have to operate across national and international borders.

 This is why we have international laws governing the oceans, such as the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (signed by over 120 nations), the 1972 London (Dumping) Convention, the 1978 MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and the 1998 OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic. 

The European Union has water-protection laws (known as directives) that apply to all of its member states. 


Most environmental experts agree that the best way to tackle pollution is through something called the polluter pays principle

This means that whoever causes pollution should have to pay to clean it up, one way or another. Polluter pays can operate in all kinds of ways. It could mean that tanker owners should have to take out insurance that covers the cost of oil spill clean-ups, for example.

It could also mean that shoppers should have to pay for their plastic grocery bags, as is now common in Ireland, to encourage recycling and minimize waste. Or it could mean that factories that use rivers must have their water inlet pipes downstream of their effluent outflow pipes, so if they cause pollution, they themselves are the first people to suffer. 

Ultimately, the polluter pays principle is designed to deter people from polluting by making it less expensive for them to behave in an environmentally responsible way.

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