Not much variation in Ganga water quality due to dead body discharge: Centre

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: After several bodies of suspected Covid victims were found floating in the Ganga and Yamuna in Bihar and UP, the initial analysis of water samples does not show much variation in the river water quality due to dead body discharge as far as biological parameters are concerned but states have been directed that sewage and water samples be analyzed for the monitoring of contamination of coronavirus.

During a review meeting of the situation, Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, emphasized to get in touch with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) to get the water samples analysed by the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune that has recently established protocol for testing Covid 19 virus in the sewage and has started testing.

According to the minutes of the meeting, attended by Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, accessed by The New Indian Express, Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary, CPCB informed that as per the real time water quality monitoring data not much variation is observed in the river water quality due to dead body discharge as far as biological parameters are concerned.

He also informed that as per the report of WHO, water spread of virus is not expected and chances of survival of virus in river water are ruled out. He further informed that the CPCB has written to the SPCB to monitor the water quality and have to look out at bacteriological parameters in addition to the conventional parameters. He opined that for Covid virus analysis, samples can be sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

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Ashish Tiwari, Member Secretary, UPPCB, informed that weekly monitoring of the water samples of the river is being done for the conventional parameters of pH, Color, BOD (biochemical oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand).

“As per the data not much difference in the water quality of the river was observed and that the flow of the river is adequate. Analysis of the Covid virus from the water samples involves the extraction of RNA, which can be done by the appropriate institutes having expertise for the same,” said Tiwari, assuring increase in frequency of monitoring at strategic locations.

The Centre emphasised that specialized institutes such as National Institute of Virology, Pune, and National Chemical Laboratory may be associated for testing of the Covid virus in the water samples and that the CPCB to do overall coordination.

“It was also emphasized to get in touch with concerned agencies such as CPCB, SPCBs, CWC to get the water samples analyzed for the monitoring of contamination of Covid virus and intensified monitoring for other conventional important parameters. The health department may be associated by state PCBs so as to ensure the collection and analysis of samples as per the specified protocols and guidelines. Project Directors of State Missions can coordinate as needed. The spread of the virus in sewage may also be monitored by undertaking studies,” according to minutes of the meeting.