Quality parameters have indeed improved in Karnataka's two major rivers
Bengaluru: If Jalandhar can see the Himalayas, surely you can drink the waters of the sacred Cauvery and Krishna? Well not yet, but water quality in both the major rivers in Karnataka has started showing improvement on several parameters.
Real-time monitoring data show that parameters like dissolved oxygen and pH have improved in the Krishna and Cauvery, and concentrations of ammonia, chlorides and coliform bacteria are now within the limits set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The prescribed pH range for river water is 6.5-8.5. For this parameter, the Krishna, with a pH level of 7.4, makes it, but the Cauvery, at 4.7, is some way off.
As for dissolved oxygen, the desirable level is 6 mg/l or more, and both rivers make the cut, Cauvery at 7.9 mg/L and Krishna at 7.4 mg/L.
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is not yet jumping in joy. It needs to water samples at several Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS-5) locations.
However, officials are saying the reasons for this improvement in water quality are not hard to guess: due to the coronavirus lockdown, there's been no washing of clothes, and no dumping of flowers, clothes, food, leaves and plastic in the rivers.
"The major difference, however, is the decrease in the amount of raw sewage and industrial effluent being let into the rivers," a senior official stated.
However, in terms of turbidity, there has been no great improvement. The Cauvery's turbidity level is 191 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units) and that of the Krishna 700 NTU, which is way higher than the prescribed limit of 1-5 NTU.
Noise levels down
Coming to noise levels in Bengaluru, KSPCB officials say that in areas like BTM, Silk Board and JC Road, which have high traffic during office hours, noise pollution has come down. Since construction activity too has halted, noise levels are below 45 decibels even during day.