(Last Updated on : 25-05-2015)
River basin of Godavari River is mostly rich cultivable land. However, domestic pollution in this basin is the biggest polluter of the river Godavari, accounting for almost 82 per cent of total pollution, while industrial pollution is recorded at about 18 per cent.
Over half of the river basin measures to about 18.6 million ha and is categorized as cultivable land. Most of the river's water is drawn for irrigation purposes. Application of fertilizers is quite high at almost 49.34 kg/hectares that accounts to almost double the country's average. Pesticides are applied at the high rates of 146.47 kgs/sq. km of which 79 per cent are organochlorines. However, the Central Pollution Control Board does not recognize the pollution created by such high levels of stimulant and pesticide usage.
The fact of pollution in the Godavari river basin evolves around the tiny Nakavaggu rivulet, joining the Manjira, a tributary of the Godavari. The rivulet happens to be dead and thus supports no life. Highly productive agricultural and cultivable land surrounds the rivulet. More than 150 small and medium industries and several large industries near the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad are known to release their effluents into the Nakavaggu rivulet, which finally joins the Godavari River.
However the maximum pollution occurs at the 72 industries in the Patancheru Industrial area, which dump their effluents into the river. Without any treatment facilities, industrial effluents are flowed out into streams that collect in ponds. This overflow of pollutants later reaches the Nakavaggu. A drain leading to Nakavaggu carries high amounts of effluents from Bhel, Asian Paints and Voltas industries. Industrial discharge from such industries has relentlessly affected the public health, surface and ground water and agriculture in 22 villages of the Godavari river basin.
The Godavari river water is heavily used for agriculture all along the basin soil, as it is the only available water source. However, the river's water has transformed the fertile soil toxic with heavy metals. The soil of Godavari river basin contains heavy metals like iron, copper, nickel, cobalt, zinc and cadmium. The crop yield has suffered terribly due to these pollutions for the past few years. Before industrialization, the land's crop yield was around 40 bags of paddy per acre and is now it has reduced to a mere 10 bags. Toxic metals in the soil have polluted the crops, lessened animal milk and affected the human health.
Incidence of cancers has also become common in the river basin, including leukemia in young boys, lung cancer in non-smokers and liver cancer. Medical experts point these increased rates due to high water pollution. The polluted water has also gone underground, thus contaminating groundwater and the surrounding soil due to acidification.
The rivers flowing in the Godavari river basin are the Indravati River, Pranahita River, Wainganga River, Wardha River, Manjira River, Kinnerasani River, Sileru River and Sabari River. The Godavari River has a drainage area of 313,000 km² in seven states, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Orissa. The major tributaries of the river include Sabari, Indravati, Pranahita and Manjra and flow in the basin.