Gurgaon geologist sails across Ganga to raise pollution alarm

Gurgaon: Feb 09, 2017,  Hindustan Times

Kumaran He used a stand-up paddle boat to sail through the entire stretch of the river in 75 days. (Ganges SUP team)

A city-based geologist carried out a survey of dolphins in the Ganga last month with a view to spreading awareness on the need to preserve our water bodies. The survey is also aimed at alerting the public to the death of animals and marine species due to the untamed pollution of the river.

He used a stand-up paddle boat to sail through the entire stretch of the river in 75 days.

His bid to raise awareness on the threat to marine life and rivers comes at a time the region has been losing its wet lands and water bodies to large-scale land filling and development work.

“After paddling the entire length of the Ganga, we (Kumaran and colleague Shilpika Gautam) were able to get a sense of the state of wildlife around the river, water quality, the livelihood of people settled nearby, the irrigation system and the geology of the river,” Kumaran M, a geologist at Cairn India, Gurgaon, said.

The aim was to use stand-up pedal boating, which is regarded as a popular adventure sport, to highlight the plight of animals due to the unchecked dumping of plastic waste into the river.

A dolphin spotted around 50km from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh by the Ganga SUP team. (Spike Reid)

“I spotted 867 dolphins while covering 2688 kilometers. The figure shows an alarming decline from the 2,400 dolphins last year. This as per the figure put out by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) last year. Industrial effluents and plastic waste are being dumped into the river, turning the water toxic and affecting its marine life. We spotted dolphins that turned blind after plastic sediments damaged their eyes. This is alarming,” the 35-year-old geologist said.

During their cruise across the river, the Gurgaon geologist and his team covered Gomukh, Devprayag, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Bijnor, Narora, Kanpur, Varanasi and Mayapur before reaching their journey’s end in the Sagar Islands of Bengal.

The team kicked off the expedition on October 15 at a height of 4,020 metres at the river’s source, Gomukh. From there, they journeyed 260 kilometres to reach Devprayag from where proper Ganga flows. “We completed our mission on January 11 after covering five states,” Kumaran said.

He said dolphins are at top of the food chain and more number of sightings indicates cleaner ecosystem.

Kumaran, a resident of DLF Phase 2, took a three-month leave from office, to set out on this unique expedition which,he feels, will raise public consciousness on the perilous state of our rivers. He said he has also been taking a tour of the water bodies to spread awareness on the state of wet lands.

In a 12-month expedition last year, he travelled more than 24,000 kilometers on his stand-up paddle boat covering 18 water bodies in Srinagar, Chennai, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and even sailed as far as Sri Lanka and Malaysia. 

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Sewage overflow floods CISF-Indirapuram road

Noida: Feb 12, 2017, Hindustan Times

Officials of the Ghaziabad development authority (GDA) said that the issue is due to the short width of the STP outlet, which drains treated discharge from three STPs on the premises.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The CISF-Indirapuram road that connects Indirapuram, Vasundhara and other areas with NH-24 is flooded with sewage discharge overflow from the sewage treatment plant (STP) premises in the vicinity. Officials of the Ghaziabad development authority (GDA) said that the issue is due to the short width of the STP outlet, which drains treated discharge from three STPs on the premises.

Residents said that the issue crops up often and hinders traffic flow. The road is one of the most used in the city and many use this road daily to move onto the NH-24 for work. Residents said that the issue of sewage overflow is persistent in Indirapuram, but GDA turns a blind eye.

“The overflow on the road is a recurrent issue. Also, there is sewage backflow into our localities and the filthy water flows into the basements of our highrise. It is difficult to rope in a super sucker machine every time this happens. We have also moved a public interest litigation in this regard at the Allahabad high court. The resolution has been delayed,” Alok Kumar, a resident of Arihant Harmony highrise in Indirapuram, said.

BK Pandey of Vaishali said, “There are times when there is no alternative but to drive through the sewage. The issue is worse on one side of the CISF road, while moving from NH-24 to Vasundhara. Often, one can easily find roadside kiosks and small shops surrounded by filthy water, and looking like an island.”

The STP complex in Indirapuram comprises three STPs — a 48MLD plant of the municipal corporation, 56MLD plant of GDA and 72MLD plant of the UP Jal Nigam. Indirapuram is maintained by the GDA; it is yet to be handed over to Ghaziabad municipal corporation.

“The overflow is mainly due to the operations of the Jal Nigam STP. Earlier, it was running at a minimum level due to issues between the corporation and Jal Nigam. Now, it is operating at a higher capacity and the treated sewage discharge is heavy. The outlet for the three STPs is common but small in width, which results in the spilling of treated sewage,” Chakresh Jain, executive engineer of the GDA, said.

“Our maintenance staff who operate the super sucker machines were not available as they were roped in for election duty. Now, we will coordinate with the respective agencies and try to resolve the issue,” he said.