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Focus on cleaning the Sabarmati river; the second most polluted river

10:02 AM Feb 18, 2023 IST | nayanikaphukan
focus on cleaning the sabarmati river  the second most polluted river

The Sabarmati River, which flows through the city of Ahmedabad in the Indian state of Gujarat, has been facing secretion in recent years. The sources of pollution in the river include industrial effluent, sewage discharge, and solid waste disposal.

High BOD and sources of pollution

The Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad is ranked second among India’s most polluted rivers, per a 2022 CPCB report. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also decided to upgrade the Sabarmati River to ‘Category-I’ status for critically polluted due to these most recent findings. The BOD (Biochemical oxygen demand) in the Sabarmati River was found to be 292 mg per liter. 


Riverfront Flower Park and Sabarmati River 
Riverfront Flower Park and Sabarmati River | Courtesy: Flickr

Higher BOD indicates more oxygen is required, which is less for oxygen-demanding species to feed on, and signifies lower water quality. The effect of decomposing matter on species within a given ecosystem is determined by the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of water. The BOD test measures the amount of oxygen required by bacteria to decompose organic matter. A higher BOD indicates a greater need for oxygen, which leaves less available for oxygen-dependent species to consume and denotes poorer water quality.

Some sources state that the stretch of Sabarmati with the highest BOD content has various textile manufacturing industries. And, these units play a significant role in worsening the pollution by the open discharge of untreated sewage. Additionally, sewage from households is also released into the river without proper treatment, exacerbating the problem.


Read more: Sabarmati second most polluted river in India | Ahmedabad News

Women washing clothes on the banks of a river near Dakore Temple. Dakor is a city and a Nagarpalika in Kheda district in the state of Gujarat, India. It is prominent for its grand temple of Shree Ranchhodraiji |
Women washing clothes on the banks of a river near Dakore Temple. Dakor is a city and a Nagarpalika in the Kheda district in the state of Gujarat, India. It is prominent for its grand temple of Shree Ranchhodraiji | Courtesy: photo by Ashish shah/Wikimedia Commons

Steps by authorities

The Gujarat High Court took suo moto cognizance in August 2021 to set pollution limits in several state rivers. In addition, the court established a joint task force of nine individuals. Then they later took action on numerous occasions to address the alarming levels of pollution in Gujarati rivers, including the Sabarmati.


Read more: Polluted River Stretches for Restoration of Water Quality – 2022

On 18th February 2023, while hearing a public interest litigation on pollution in Sabarmati, the high court asked the Gujarat Pollution Control Board to place before it the Central Pollution Control Board report that was presented before the Lok Sabha by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti.


According to the report, the Sabarmati river is the second most polluted river after Tamil Nadu’s Cooum. The report is to be submitted to the high court in the next hearing.

The government and various organizations have taken some measures to address the pollution of the Sabarmati River. For example, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has set up several sewage treatment plants to treat the wastewater before releasing it into the river. However, much more needs to be done to fully address the issue and restore the health of the river.

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