BJP forgets duty towards cleaning River Tawi, who will remind them?

A dip in the Tawi River, once considered an act of spiritual cleansing, would today most likely give you disease. Unrestrained release of sewage and dumping of urban waste has squeezed life out of the river. A walk along the riverbed is all the evidence one needs to know the state of the river, also known by the name Suryaputri.
What is shocking is that all this happens in the course of a mere 35km that the river flows in the lower reaches after emerging from the hills. It originates in the Himalayas, below Seoj Dhar peak at Kali Kund, near Bhaderwah, in Doda district. Around 20 drains, major and minor included, pour filth into the river. The Tawi traverses 141 km from its source to Marala in Pakistan, where it merges into the Chenab. But the majority of sewage is dumped into the river between the upstream town of Nagrota and the Bhagvati Nagar area of Jammu city.
Along with municipal waste (garbage) and sewage, one would also spot dead animals dumped on the riverbed, much of which is dry at this time of the year. As much as 26 mgd (million gallons per day) is pumped from the Tawi to cater to the needs of drinking water in Jammu. This is done at Sitlee (20mgd), Dhountli (4mgd) and Boria (2mgd) water treatment plants. Sitlee and Dhountli are located before the river enters Jammu, while Boria is located in the old city area, where the river enters Jammu. While most drains flow into the river after these points,As per national and international standards, the pollution level in the river exceeds the permissible limit for drinking water. Chlorine, therefore, has to be added to the water at the treatment plants before it is supplied to the city residents. Pollution comes to the river in various forms. For one, the city uses the river as a sink for direct discharge of sewage. Second, its banks have been denuded of vegetation, which causes erosion. To complete the choking, people have even encroached upon the riverbed as the water discharge in the river varies drastically over the seasons.
There have been directives from the High Court that disposal of any waste into the river be avoided, yet the Jammu Municipal Corporation is dumping garbage on its banks. Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by biological organisms in water to break down organic material present in it. Higher the level, higher the organic pollution. A BOD level up to 2 mg per litre of water is considered usable for drinking after treatment.A State Pollution Control Board study in 2011 found the BOD level of samples collected near Nagrota (entry point to Jammu) was 1.2 mg/l, but this went up to 3.9 mg/l at Bikram Chowk Bridge, where Tawi leaves the city. Beyond that after Bhagwati Nagar, this went up to a shocking 27.2 mg/l, as recorded in 2010. Though by 2011-end, dumping of garbage along the Tawi in the area was stopped. There is no reading for this area after that. Nagrota is a major upcoming township that is discharging all its effluents into the river, affecting water quality as well as aquatic life. Huge discharge then comes in Jammu city from drains between Panjtirthi and Bhagwati Nagar. Besides drains, organic and inorganic effluents from agricultural fields also flow into the Tawi till it meets the Chenab. Flowing water has a natural process of cleansing from oxygen mixing in it and action of bacteria on organic matter.However, this is not working in the Tawi in this particular stretch, as the total flow of water has decreased over the years, resulting in higher concentration of pollutants.
As per State Pollution Control Board classification of water bodies, the Tawi falls in Grade A and B till it crosses Nagrota township, whereas it drops to D as it crosses Bhagwati Nagar.The Tawi is the longest and most important tributary of the Chenab. It receives nearly all of its pollution in the small stretch through the city. At spots where drains flow into the river, the water turns dark with suspended particles, and has a foul smell. The mounting level of pollution is not only a threat to humans, but also for the varied aquatic life the river supports.According to the J&K Water Resources and Management Act, 2010, whoever disposes of household sewage or waste into any water source is liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend up to one year, or with a fine up to 10,000, or both. The general population has to be made aware of the need to keep the river clean. Wastewater from the city has to be treated before being released into the river.
Catchment areas of the river need afforestation to avoid soil erosion. Do not dump municipal waste on the banks of the river.
Do not drain household sewage into river and do not allow colonies to come up on banks.

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