Water Contamination Threatens Dalpat Sagar Lake in Chhattisgarh

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Article courtesy of Anuja Jaiswal | May 21, 2014 | The Times of India | Shared as educational material

RAIPUR: The 400-year-old picturesque Dalpat Sagar Wetlands, Jagdalpur, are facing an extreme threat of water pollution, which has already impacted the aqua life, leading to death of hundreds of fishes, and could soon become a cause for the migratory birds to abandon their winter home.

If the preliminary findings of an ongoing study by the State Forest Research and Training Institute are any indication, alarm bells should start ringing for the state administration, as contamination of the water body is seriously affecting the aqua life and fauna around the wetlands. While locals and officials of the forest department have already reported sightings of dead fish and scientists involved in the study claim that the oxygen levels in the water are depleting due to pollution.

Confirming that high levels of pollution are suspected in the Dalpat Sagar, KC Yadav, Director State Forest Research and Training Institute (SFRTI), claimed that they have a strong suspicion that toxicity in the water has led to the death of hundreds of fishes. Maintaining that a detailed report on the analysis of the water samples was awaited from the state pollution department, Yadav said all available evidence indicates water pollution, posing a grave threat to the aquatic fauna.

He said fears also exist that if the situation isn’t reversed soon, migratory birds, including the magnificent Saras (stokes), which make the sagar their home every year, would desert the area for other places. This, he admitted, would adversely affect the tourism in the area too.

Yadav said once he receives the details of the water analysis, he would seek the intervention of the local authorities to take immediate steps to curb pollution. He said contamination of the lake water from sewerage water should be immediately stopped.

Devendra Sharma and Daneshwar Kumar, the junior research fellows, who are undertaking a study on the “Status of Migratory birds in Chhattisgarh”, also confirmed sighting of dead fishes along the banks of the lake. “Water contamination appears to the cause fish mortality”, they said adding that they had collected water samples and sent them for analysis to the Pollution Control Board.

The duo maintained that it’s only a matter of time that migratory birds too would abandon the areas, as they cannot survive in such polluted waters.

On the apparent causes of the water pollution, the duo claimed that devotees visiting the temple situated at the corner of the wetlands were causing contamination by dumping ‘pooja samagri’ in the lake. While devotes strongly believe in such rituals, they unwittingly cause a great harm to aqua fauna, they said.

According to experts, all pollutants in the water lead to depletion of oxygen levels, suffocating the aquatic organism. They suggest that the government should impose a ban on dumping pooja material in the lake water.

As per information available with the department, the lake is presently home of 37 bird species, including 9 migratory birds. They include Asian Openbill Stork, Little Grebe, Marsh Sand Pipier, Western Yellow Wagtail, White Stork.

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