Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], July 26 (ANI): The Punjab Government will start a rejuvenation project for the polluted Buddha Nullah in Ludhiana next month, Ludhiana Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu said.
Sidhu added that the project was started recently with a budget of Rs 650 crores. "The project is the dream project of Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh."
Ludhiana's Buddha nullah is a 14-km stream that runs through the city and is polluted with massive quantities of toxic effluents and around 200 MLD of untreated sewage daily, throughout its passage to Sutlej River. The nullah is one of the major sources of pollution of the Sutlej River.
"The Buddha nullah accounts for 90 per cent of the pollution in Sutlej River. The contaminated water is further distributed through canals for irrigation in the entire Malwa region of the state and parts of Rajasthan. Buddha Nullah is the most dangerous and toxic water body in Punjab, which affects the lives of over two crore citizens in Punjab and Rajasthan. Sadly, it was once a clear water stream and the centre of social life in Ludhiana," said Sandhu.
Punjab Agriculture University study had found the presence of mercury, cadmium, chromium, copper, and other carcinogens in vegetables and crops grown in villages along the length of the nullah. After the confluence of its water into Sutlej, the river's water attains the Class E status in terms of pollution, meaning not fit for any use and does not sustain any aquatic life.
Over a decade back, the river had brought prosperity to the districts of Rupnagar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Ferozepur. However, the massive flow of untreated sewage and industrial effluents into the river in recent years has turned it into a source of disease and disaster, especially after it crosses Jalandhar and Ludhiana which are Punjab's industrial and business capitals. There has also been large-scale deforestation along the banks of the nullah.
"During the pre-industrialization days in the 70s, the banks of the nullah were significantly cooler than the rest of the city. But now, the temperature in that area has gone up as compared to elsewhere. It is largely on account of the high level of toxic chemicals, pollutants and dairy sludge, which contain micronutrients which release heat, as they flow down the nullah," said Jaswant Singh, Life line NGO.
"The city's residents are entirely dependent on groundwater to meet their drinking water needs. The nullah has led to the contamination of groundwater along its entire course, which has led to frequent outbreaks of diseases. The entire population of Ludhiana is at risk," said a local Rajat Sood. (ANI)