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Foam build-up in Mutha gives rise to concern

The high pollution level in Mutha River is allegedly creating mounds of dirty-white foam on its surface at Nene Ghat in Narayan Peth area. Residents are concerned about the phenomenon and environmentalists believe increased Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) levels are causing the foam to form.


Unusual: The water in Mutha river near Nene Ghat that has been foaming since the past few days

The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) 10 Sewerage Treatment Plants (STP) treating sewerage water before discharging it into Mutha River. Anil Shedge, a resident of Narayan Peth, said, “It is surprising to see this detergent-like foam in the river since the past few days.”

Students on behalf of Shrushti Environment and Sustainable Society had analysed the water quality at Nene Ghat recently. Test results showed that there was 350 mg of COD per litre of water and 100 mg of BOD.

Sandeep Joshi, president, Shrushti Environment and Sustainability Society, said, “The river water is not suitable for use, including for agriculture and industrial applications. BOD level in rivers should not exceed 30 mg and COD levels should be no more than 150 mg. Untreated water from a laundry or hotel may be creating the foam. It is also possible that pollutants are entering the river at Nene Ghat area due to leakage from a drainage line.”

Vinod Bodhankar, president, Jalbiradari, Pune District, echoed Joshi’s sentiment. He said, “Foams in a river indicates that the Dissolve Oxygen level in the water is zero. PMC needs to ascertain whether a new industry has come up in the city and discharging pollutants into the river.” 

The other side
V G Kulkarni, superintendent engineer (Water Supply and Sewerage Treatment), promised to look into the matter. “The pollution level may be high in Mutha River, but the foam phenomenon is new to us. Increased toxicity in the water could not have happened overnight. Disbursement of PMC’s STP treated water is low in the winter season. We will look into the matter,” Kulkarni said. 

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