With people staying indoors and industries shut, the Ganga river, flowing through Varanasi and Haridwar, has seen a significant improvement in water quality during the coronavirus lockdown.
On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Ever since, industries which regularly discharge effluents into the Ganga have been shut.
And now after observation, scientists have claimed that the water quality has seen a remarkable improvement and is even fit for drinking!
ANI reports that the ghats in Haridwar are also shut to the public in light of the lockdown. With no people taking dips in the water or dumping waste in it, the water looks visibly cleaner. Even fish and other marine life can be seen in the waters.
An IIT-BHU professor also told ANI that one tenth of the pollutants in the Ganga come from industries, nearby hotels and other sources. With all of these shut, the quality of water has improved by forty to fifty percent.
These areas also received rainfall in the past few weeks, as a result of which the water levels have also gone up.
Not just the Ganga, even the Yamuna river has seen a significant improvement in water quality and quantity. As can be seen in photos going viral over social media, the river which has been plagued by pollution over the years can appears cleaner.
Furthermore, because of the recent rainfall, the water levels have also improved. Since there are less cars on the road, pollution and air quality index have improved drastically. Recently, some migratory birds were also seen returning and so was the marine life.
“There is a 34% reduction in fecal coliform (human excreta) and 20% reduction in biochemical oxygen demand (a parameter to asses the quality of effluent or wastewater) at Har-ki-Pauri in April,” chief environment officer of UEPPCB, SS Pal, said. Pal added that due to the lockdown, water in Har-ki-Pauri has ranked in Class A for the first time in recent history. “The water has always been placed in Class B since Uttarakhand was formed in 2000,” told Times of India.