‘Holy rivers’ has rather become a myth today. According to a report of the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) all the big rivers of India are badly polluted. They cover 85 per cent of the surface flow of water in the country. Even the most prestigious and sacred rivers of India have been facing the curse of pollution for a long time.
River pollution has not only adversely affecting the availability of fresh potable water in the country but also resulting in many contagious and dangerous diseases. All this has been happening due to the fault and negligence of Administrative Agencies and Common Citizens as they are using these precious sources of clean water in absurd and unreasonable manner. It is the need of time that these rivers should be bring back to their natural state by eradicating the pollution so that their water once again become wholesome and clean.
River pollution, generally originates from discharge of domestic sewage, effluents, or agricultural run-off into the water of rivers. The assault on Indian rivers from growing population, agricultural modernization, unplanned urbanization and industrialization is enormous and growing day- by- day.
Broadly, the human causes responsible for pollution of water of rivers are mentioned underneath. They are:
In India there has been a major shift of population from rural areas to urban areas with a view to have better livelihood and better standards of living. Urbanization, for river means, more pollution load. As we know that in India, in most of the cities and towns, the city waste, including sewage and trade effluent go into the rivers, because they are treated as dumping yard for disposal of waste water. Rivers and streams that pass through cities and towns are turning into toxic streams….due to discharge of untreated sewage into them. The people, who have no proper facilities in cities, resort to do all their daily activities like bathing, washing and defecation, on the bank of rivers, and pollute the rivers. In many urban areas, river water is only source of drinking water supply. Thus, a large population is at risk of exposed to water borne diseases of infectious (bacterial, viral or animal infections) or chemical nature (due to fluoride or arsenic). Water borne diseases are still a great concern in India.
The problem of pollution of water of rivers, due to discharge of industrial waste has already attained a new height in the country. It is a common practice that a large number of industries, which are located on the banks of river’s discharge their untreated industrial effluents into the river water. Industrial Effluents contain, inter alia, mercury, lead, cadmium and copper etc., which are harmful to the living organisms. With the increase in numbers of industries in India, the discharge of industrial effluents also increased tremendously.
Agricultural run-off & Improper Agricultural Practices:
Agricultural wastes include wastes arising from production and processing of food and other crops and from the raising and slaughter of livestock. wastes, fertilizers and pesticides etc. farm animals waste consists of excreta, urine, slurry etc, which are organic in nature. These materials create problem when they allowed to enter into the water sources like rivers and lakes during the cleaning of the confinement areas or during the period of heavy downpour when the run-off carries them into the adjacent rivers or into the other water courses. Because of the lack of knowledge about the harmful effects of fertilizers, pesticides and other hazardous chemicals, farmers use them frequently for higher yield, which reach to the river along with run-off and ultimately prove injurious to the water quality of rivers.
Religious and Social Practices:
During the last rights on the bank of rivers, or leaving un-burnt or half-burnt bodies in the rivers, throwing of carcasses of animals, mass-bathing in rivers and idol immersion in the rivers during the festive seasons, are some example of harmful religious and social practices prevailing in India.