Holy river?

Even untreated sewage water in Norway is cleaner than the water flowing in the Ganga

Published: Saturday 15 July 2000

A study by the Norwegian Institute of Water Research has found the water of the Ganga "to be highly polluted with concentration of chemical oxygen demand (cod) twice as high and the concentration of chrome a thousand times higher, when compared to a untreated public sewer in Norway. The institute had conducted tests on water samples collected from the downstream of the Ganga near Combined Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in Jajmau, Kanpur.

According to the study, the Ganga was being "highly polluted" by toxic tannery effluents discharged by the CETP. "Following the western standards the water was not even fit to be led out in nature without thorough cleaning," says the report. The cod concentration was found to be 800 milligram (mg) per litre, against the Indian standard limit of 250 mg per litre, and total chromium was found to be 10.9 mg per litre against the permissible limit of 2 mg per litre.

The report says that skin problems among people living near the river could be explained by the high concentration of chrome and that Ganga water was being polluted by toxic effluents, carcinogens and other harmful chemicals.

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