Monday, May 25, 2009

pollution rising in river vitasta

The much revered and the very enchanting river Jhelum is one of the seven rivers collectively referred to as Sapta-Sandhu. The river finds its mention in the ancient Indian scriptures of the Rig-Veda where it is called Vitasta. The ancient Greeks called the mighty river as Hydaspes after the titan descended God born to Thaumas-the sea God and Elektra-the cloud Goddess. Hydaspes was the brother of the Goddess of Rainbow-Iris and Harpies - the lord of snatching winds. The historical battle between Alexander the Great and King Porus of Jhelum in 326 B.C. is documented as the Battle of Hydaspes. Mogul Emperor Jahangir was very fond of this river with clear blue waters and called it 'Bebat', though its initial course is a bit muddy.
The modern name of Vitasta Jhelum which was adopted from Jhelum city in Pakistan whence the river flows near city's vicinity. The name Jhelum was carried to Kashmir by European travellers and found its way into official usage, otherwise the river is still knowing as Vyath by natives.

The river Jhelum not only cleans one's body and uplifts the soul after dipping in it but also adds to the beauty of Kashmir valley and acts as its drainage. However, these days a dip in the river Jhelum will sap the body and sag (hang down unevenly) the soul. This is attributed to ever looming level of pollutants especially domestic wastes which consists of human excreta, greywater, polythenes etc. Huge piles of garbage can be seen on banks of the river from Khawaja Bhag to Khanpore and Azad Gunj upto Khadneyar. Because of large population living on its banks, the river is being used as dumping site by the inhabitants of the area who throw the filth in the river. Even sweepers of Municipal Corporation/Committees dump all the garbage along the river banks. Owing to accumulation of domestic wastes the water of the river has become eutrophic with high biological oxygen demand (BOD) and almost lost its regulatory capability. As the river proceeds from rural to urban area, there is gradual decrease in water depth due to entry of silt and garbage into the river.

The river is getting silted up due to erosion in its catchments particularly the low hills. About 80 percent of the catchment area of river is affected by soil erosion which has been accelerated by massive deforestation and overgrazing of the pastures. The process has further aggravated through quarrying and mining, development of hill roads and other development projects. With slight rains, the river is in spate and brings misery to the millions of people of Kashmir valley. Concentration of phosphorus and nitrogen (NO3) have crossed the permissible limits due to entrance of 7 lakh lit of urine, 29000 kg of faeces and 45,000 kg of biomedical wastes into the river daily. This has caused Eutrophication affecting thereby the phyto/300 planktom. Heavy metal pollution is also on the increase. ( Birbal )

Apart from urine and human faeces and biomedical wastes, wastage from slaughter houses, tanneries, meat fish, fruit and vegetable markets are also dumped into the Jhelum river. Waste of marriage ceremonies and other rituals including wastes of polythene materials have further added woes of the Jhelum. Use of this polluted water by the people for daily requirement would give rise to borne diseases - cholera, jaundice, amoebiasis etc.  ( cusine of jammu )

Effluents discharged by commercial establishments and nearby hospitals is also a source of river water pollution. JKPCB reported that the entire stretch of the river Jhelum in Srinagar has a high oxygen deficient value beyond the permissible level of 10 mg-1 or water.

1 comment:

Adnan said...

I agree with the writer. There is more pollution in Pakistani side of this river. The whole city Jhelum considers it as the filth or dumping place. Unfortunately, we do not respect rivers, trees and nature. Saeed Ahmad