3 out of every 4 river monitoring sites in India had alarming levels of heavy toxic metals

According to the Centre for Science and Environment’s State of Environment Report, 2022, 3 out of every 4 river monitoring sites in India had alarming levels of heavy toxic metals such as lead, iron, nickel, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, and copper (CSE).

The report is an annual compendium of environment-development data and is derived from public sources. Of the 588 water quality stations monitored for pollution, total coliform and biochemical oxygen demand were high in 239 and 88 stations across 21 States — an indicator of poor wastewater treatment from industry, agriculture, and domestic households.

India dumps 72% of its sewage without treatment. Ten States do not treat their sewage at all, as per the Central Pollution Control Board.

Over a third of India’s coastline that is spread across 6,907 km saw some degree of erosion between 1990 and 2018. West Bengal is the worst hit with over 60% of its shoreline under erosion.

The reasons for coastal erosion include an increase in the frequency of cyclones and sea-level rise and activities such as the construction of harbours, beach mining, and building of dams.

While the global average of the Ocean Health Index, a measure that looks at how sustainably humans are exploiting ocean resources, has improved between 2012 and 2021, India’s score in the index has declined over the same period.

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