Once trade route for salt and roof tiles between Goa and Mangalore, the historical river Sal has virtually turned into a dumping ground for human waste.
While the river water in Goa is considered as fairly good and rated second best in the country by analytical report of Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), the river Sal is an exception to it as it is categorised as most polluted river in
The GSPCB has examined five parameters from April 2011 to January 2013, while two major parameters – biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and coliform (fecal coliform – pollution attributed to human cause and total coliform – pollution attributed to natural) are taken into consideration and has labeled river Sal as the most polluted river in Goa.
“The two major components – BOD and coliform have exceeded beyond the permissible limits at all seven monitoring stations in river Sal,” said GSPCB chairman, Mr Jose Manuel Noronha.
“Among all other rivers, Sal is the only river where maximum seven monitoring stations were installed since April 2011 for monitoring and collecting data on monthly basis considering the pollution level,” said Mr Noronha.
However, increasing pollution level in the river is not new as it is widely reported in the past and four years ago, Mr Joseph Vaz, an activist from South Goa had filed a PIL in the High Court urging the court not to allow any more housing projects taking into cognisance the pollution of the river Sal.
“The monitoring of water quality of the river Sal was carried under the National Water Monitoring Project (NWMP) of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to ensure that level of pollution was monitored regularly and reported for corrective measures before the concerned authority,” said Mr Noronha.
The monitoring of river water quality is classified into two categories – areas wherein presence of salinity is traced is classified as saline water (II) and beyond this is classified as ‘C’ water bodies, mostly sweet water. The standard permissible limit for fecal and total coliform for saline water and sweet water is 100ml, MPN.
Areas like Orlim and Mobor are categorised as SW-II, where fecal coliform has exceeded nearly 67 per cent higher than permissible limits and it is mainly due to penetration of sea tides.
The sweet water monitoring locations are Panzorconi, Mungul, Khareband, Jackniband and Rumder-Nuvem.
According to Centre for Science and Environment, nearly 80 per cent of the sewage generated in India flows untreated into its rive , lakes and ponds.
River Sal is no exception as coliform traces at three different monitoring stations – Mungul, Khareband and Jackniband have reached an average 20,000 MPN, when permissible limit is 100ml, MPN.
These three stations have been major epicenter for pollution of the river as constantly for four months in 2012 – pollution levels have been recorded between 11000 to 22000 MPN.
“Coliform must be below 100ml, MPN to consider it safe for general human use or for irrigation,” said GSPCB’s senior scientist, Dr Mohan Girap.
Over the period of time a fishing jetty, starred hotels, a hospital, a housing complex have surfaced along the river and often blamed for discharging sewage water into river, while at some places it is choked with plastic reducing it to one big nullah.
An ambitious proposed plan of the state government for laying a sewerage line along the southern costal belt and Navelim areas is certainly a sign of hope but by the time this plan is actually executed this once called river might turn into a nullah. [NT]