Pollution | VOL. 15, ISSUE 94, January-February 2016

Water Pollution in River Noyyal

Rivers are among the key natural resources of any country. Since a river flows over a large terrain, it supports a wide range of biodiversity and sustains the livelihoods and the well being of a myriad people and civilisations. Over the last few decades, haphazard urbanisation, unbridled expansion of manufacturing activities, burgeoning growth in the use of chemical inputs in agriculture and the sheer pressure of growing populations—both resident as well as floating, has made river ecosystems unsustainable in many parts of India. Many river basins are either moderately or severely polluted irrespective of the vastness of the respective basin area. For example, the Ganga, which boasts of the largest river basin in India, remains polluted in most stretches despite its overall drainage accounting to 6080 million litres per day (MLD). To address pollution, the government of India launched the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) way back in 1986. This was followed by GAP-2 in 2009. However, till date the scenario remains unchanged or even worse in certain stretches. In Varanasi alone, over 250 MLD of untreated sewage is discharged into the Ganga (Singh, 2014). The river Noyyal in Tamil Nadu which commands one of the smaller river basins in the country is among the most polluted in India. The Noyyal basin is a classic example of upstream business—related operations having serious agro-economic and ecological overtones...

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