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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cases of river poisoning in India on the rise

It was in November 2011 that I wrote about two rivers in the North East India being regularly poisoned by some miscreants who used Endosulfan in the river upstream to kill fish and make a quick buck by selling them in the market.

A few weeks later, I can safely (and sadly) say that what seemed to be an isolated case of river poisoning barely 2 months ago, is now slowly turning into a sickening trend elsewhere in India. This time, it is the rivers of Dooars (northern West Bengal) that are under attack.

Gholani - one of the rivers that's been poisoned last week


I have been closely following the developemnts and from my observations, almost half a dozen rivers have been poisoned between Dec 15 and Jan 15 alone.
Here are the names of the rivers that I am aware of being poisoned: Karala, Dharala, Baliadaha, Bamani, Gholani and Derikamari. In all of these six rivers, the poisoning has happened at least once, and,in some cases, more than once.

The poisoning of Karala - which flows through the region's largest city Jalpaiguri was reported in the media. Following the reports, the authorities conducted  tests that confirmed the poisoning.
However, poisoning of rivers continued despite the the outrage over Karala incident and has gone largely unreported. What are the chemicals used in the poisoning? Endosulfan 1 and 2, methyl parathion, dieldrin, chlorphy-rifos, methyl malathion and DDT.

The majority of the population living in the village that the rivers flow through, are poor and living below poverty line. Each time the poisoning has been noiticed only when layers of dead fish is seen floating on the river. Locals have eaten the fish as well. It is not yet known if there have been cases of food poisoning or not.
Needless to say, this is a truly worrying trend. If not checked, the rivers will turn into killer water bodies,endangering the lives of lakhs and and livelihood of an estimated  10,000 fishermen of the region. 

I hope the cases will be talked about in wider circles and investigated into. To let go off crimes like that will be an act of criminal negligence.
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