28-km stretch of Zuari badly polluted

Panaji: Around 28-kilometre stretch of the state’s
largest river Zuari from Curchorem to Marcaim has been identified by the Goa
State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) as a badly polluted stretch due to
household sewage, which is directly discharged into the river body.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has classified
River Zuari (28-km stretch from Curchorem to Marcaim) under Priority V, with
BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) level ranging between 3.2 and 5.1 mg/l, which
makes the river unfit for bathing. This classification by the CPCB is based on
the report from GSPCB.

The GSPCB conducted source identification studies in
January and February 2019 and observed individual households along the banks of
the river in Marcaim, Adpai, Kaswada, Borim, Loutolim, Zamboli and Cortalim
directly discharging untreated sewage into a nullah connecting the river.

The GSPCB had also monitored the water quality of River
Zuari, which is the longest river of the state, at three locations of
Panchawadi, Borim bridge and Marcaim jetty and found presence of faecal
coliform above the desired levels of 500 MPN (most probable number) /100 ml in
all three seasons. However, during the physical survey, the GSPCB did not find
any industrial outfalls from Verna industrial units contributing to the
pollution in this stretch.

The GSPCB has expressed concern over the levels of faecal
coliform (FC), which exceeds the prescribed limits, while the biochemical
oxygen demand levels, a key indicator of organic pollution, and dissolved
oxygen meet the prescribed statutory requirement.

According to analysis, the pollution starts rising during
high tide with faecal coliform rising as high as 720, and during low tide, the
FC varies from 0.00 to 2520, with an average of 367.50. The BOD level in Zuari
during pre-monsoon period remains low and varies from 0.08 to 2.13 mg/l with an
average of 1.03 mg/l and post monsoon the BOD values range from 0.80 to 4.71
mg/l, with an average of 2.57 mg/l. The BOD level increases during high tide
and decreases during low tide.

In September 2018, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had
directed all the state governments, including Goa to prepare an action plan
within two months for making all polluted river stretches fit at least for
bathing purposes (that is BOD < 3 mg/l and FC < 500 MPN/100 ml) within
six months from the date of finalisation of the action plan.

The River Rejuvenation Committee, which has been formed
as per NGT direction, in its proposed action report for Zuari river, has asked
the fisheries and panchayat departments to provide toilet facilities for
fishing jetty at Cortalim in six months and establish toilets at the jetty in a

The report said it is the responsibility of the village
panchayats to improve and upgrade the existing solid waste management facility
including collection system and erection of material recovery facilities/
storage shed for non-biodegradable waste in the village panchayats of Savordem,
Panchwadi, Shiroda, Borim, Wadi-Talaulim, Durbhat, Bandora, Marcaim, Neura, St
Lawrence (Agasaim), St Andre (Velha), Siridao-Pale, Curchorem-Kakora, Macasona,
Curtorim, Rachol, Cortalim -Quelossim, Sancoale villages located along the
banks of River Zuari.

The underground sewerage scheme is in progress for Ponda
municipal area including Curti, Bandora, Kavlem, Undir and area close to
Kapleshwari nullah, which further joins the Zuari river. Three sewage treatment
plants are proposed at Curti, Kavlem and Bandora of capacity 8MLD, 15MLD and
15MLD, respectively, which will be ready within a year.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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