River water quality assessment and pollution mapping of the Hindon river, its tributaries namely Kali-West, Dhamola and Krishni and the adjoining drains have revealed that pollution in these water channels in western UP is caused not only by drains but also by industries such as sugar mills, slaughterhouses, pulp and paper factories, dyeing units, board manufacturing mills, etc operating in the region.

Joint monitoring and sampling of these water channels were carried out by teams of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and UP Pollution control board (UPPCB) in November last year. During monitoring, high levels of pollution in rivers and adjoining drains was observed, for which pollution source mapping of polluted river stretches/drains was carried out in January-March 2023, wherein mapping, monitoring and sampling of river water, adjoining drains and groundwater were done.

A meeting was held by the secretary, department of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation (DoWR, RD & GR), ministry of jal shakti (MoJS) on October 20, 2022, concerning the rejuvenation and pollution abatement plan of Hindon river. It was decided that CPCB and NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga) would carry out pollution source mapping of the Hindon river and its tributaries from its origin to its confluence with the Yamuna to identify major issues for water quality deterioration and gap areas in sewage management.

Monitoring of the Hindon was carried out at 34 locations, Kali-West at 21 locations, Dhamola at four locations, Krishni at five locations and Yamuna at two locations. A total of 55 adjoining drains of Hindon (26), Kali-West (17), Dhamola (5), Krishni (4) and Yamuna (3) were also monitored. Groundwater situation was also monitored at 31 locations.

The results in the form of an exhaustive report (accessed by the TOI) is disturbing. For instance, in the Hindon river, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) were calculated at 574 mg/litre and 1,435 mg/litre, respectively, near Dhobi Ghat drain in Muzaffarnagar. Similarly, Sardhana drain at Meerut registered 460mg/litre BOD and 1,555 mg/litre COD, whereas in Hindon Vihar Drain, the figure drastically rose to 639 (BOD) and 2,018 (COD).

According to Chandraveer Singh, senior scientist (retired), Pollution Control Board Haryana, “BOD is the amount of oxygen required by microorganisms and bacteria for decomposing the dead remains of plants and animals or organic matter. Ideally, it should not be more than 30mg/litre. COD is the amount of oxygen required to chemically oxidize organic matter. It should not be above 100mg/litre. The higher levels of these parameters mean water health is severely compromised.”