River pollution not only impacts the marine river ecosystem but also impacts the surrounding ecosystems. Discuss. Also, explain why such pollution has not shown any signs of improvement, despite various government initiatives.

River pollution is one of the major environmental issues in India. CPCB data shows that almost 150 rivers are heavily polluted in India, their water is so polluted that it cannot be used by humans.

River pollution has a detrimental impact on surrounding ecosystems:

  • River pollution generates a foul odor, impacting human habitation.
  • It acts like a breeding ground for vectors like flies, mosquitoes, etc.
  • The ecological value of the nearby landscape decreases. The tourism potential of the nearby area decreases.
  • It also deteriorates the soil quality by releasing toxins and hence damages crops.

The problem of  river pollution has not shown any signs of improvement even after various efforts of government like the National Lake Conservation Plan, etc, because of various factors like:

  • Point Source – NGT pointed out that Sewage from Industries is disposed of in rivers without any treatment in states like UP.
  • Nonpoint sources – agricultural water runoff into rivers and contains fertilizers & pesticides in it and it is unregulated.
  • Human usage of river water for activities like washing clothes, bathing, etc is also not regulated.
  • Rituals like bathing in holy rivers, throwing dead flowers, leaves, ashes, etc also harm river ecology.
  • Minimum ecological flow is not maintained due to reservoirs and dams construction on rivers, thus hampering the self-cleaning ability of rivers.

Government should adopt a river-basin approach for river management as recently done by the National Ganga conservation authority to improve the quality of river water and reduce pollution.


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