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Polluted river stretches increase in Northeastern States
Sobhapati Samom
 NIMLI (RAJASTHAN), Feb 13 - The number of critically polluted river stretches have increased in 15 States of the country including three Northeastern States. The only silver lining is that such stretches have declined in four States during 2015-2018, according to State of India’s Environment report 2019 of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi-based research and advocacy think tank.

“In fact, the number of critically polluted river stretches has increased across the country, from 32 to 45 in the last three years,” the CSE report said. “The maximum number of critically polluted river stretches are in Maharashtra (nine) followed by Gujarat(five).”

But there is a disagreement between Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on the number of polluted stretches in the State, the report said. While the CPCB says there has been increase in polluted stretches, MPCB says the number has deceased from 49 to 34 in the last three years.

As per the CSE report, there is an increase of three critically polluted river stretches in Assam, while Meghalaya accounts for two and Nagaland one. Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have also recorded an increase of four each.

The State of India’s Environment report was released by eminent jurist and former Supreme Court Justice Madan B Lokur and CSE director general Sunita Narain during the three-day annual media conclave at CSE’s new residential training campus – the Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute in Nimli in Rajasthan’s Alwar. The conclave which was attended by more than 80 journalists across the country, concluded on Wednesday.

The report is an annual compilation done by Down To Earth, the fortnightly which CSE helps publish. The 2019 report is an extensively researched document covering a wide range of subjects – water and sanitation, waste, health, air pollution, forests and wildlife, elections, climate change, urbanisation, renewable energy and agriculture.

Maharashtra has the highest 53 polluted river stretches followed by Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Karnataka, UP, Goa, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Manipur, J&K, Telengana, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Punjab, Rajasthan, Puducherry, Haryana and Delhi.

Assam (44) has the maximum number of critically polluted river stretches among all the Northeastern States, followed by Manipur (nine), Mizoram(nine) and Meghalaya(seven). Tripura and Nagaland have six each while Sikkim has four, the CPCB report said.

“The absence of proper implementation of water conservation measures is making the situation grave,”the CSE report added.

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