Under a World Bank-funded project, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is installing the water quality monitoring stations in the three cities — Allahabad, Kanpur and Varanasi — under the supervision of UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB). Two such stations are being set up on Nanamau and Jajmau bridges in Kanpur, one on Shashtri bridge in Allahabad and at two other places in Varanasi.
UPPCB officials said that when these stations will report a cognizable increase in pollution level in the river during Kumbh, with a large number of people taking bath or otherwise using the river, the Irrigation Department will release water into the river to provide comparatively clean water for the holy dip.
UPPCB Chief Environmental Officer Dr Madhu Bhardwaj said these stations will not only provide date on a real-time but also the information of the pollution level in Ganga will be precise. Bhardwaj said that Central government has planned to install such stations on other tributaries of Ganga in future.
“At present, we collect samples in office hours only and take these to labs for testing. Several factors such as variations in oxygen concentration between morning and night were not monitored. Now, the new monitoring stations will give real time and accurate information of pollution level round the clock,” said Radheshyam, UPPCB Regional Officer, Kanpur.
Radheshyam said the CPCB has engaged a France-based agency to install the stations that comprises a computerised machine with an internet connection. The set-up will be fixed at a place near the river. A sensor, connected with the station from one end, would remain dipped in the river to detect the level of pH, nitrate, chloride and ammonia concentrations, biochemical oxygen density and chemical oxygen density levels of the water. The entire station will be connected online to authorities of the CPCB, UPPCB and the Irrigation Department.
In Kanpur, the monitoring stations have been set up on footpaths of Nanamau and Jajmau bridges. The station at Nanamau has been commissioned recently but its data is not accessible to the CPCB authorities as internet connectivity has not been provided so far. Radhesyam said the commissioning of another station at Jajmau bridge got delayed because of an objection from the National Highways Authority of India.
NHAI Project Director Naveen Mishra said, “UPPCB was setting up the machine on the footpath of NH-25 on the bridge. It was blocking the path for pedestrians. Following our objection, they have shifted it to another lane now.”
The two monitoring station in Varanasi were being set up near VRM bypass and one near a power grid base near the river.
UPPCB officials said that the maximum pollution in the Ganga river was in these three cities and, hence, the monitoring devices were being installed first in UP. A UPPCB official said that the Centre has plans to set up such water quality monitoring stations later in others states where the Ganga river flows.