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Beas river- turning into dumping site for hotels and others

SHIMLA: River Beas, once considered sacred, has now turned into a source of dumping garbage and other waste material which has posed threat not only to the future of this river but also to the aquatic life especially the Trout fish. With main towns-Manali, Kullu and Mandi- throwing its waste and sewerage directly in the river water this which is an important contributory river of lndus system it being the only tributary of the system confined to India. 

Beas river, known for white water rafting, is witnessing dumping of municipal solid waste and release of untreated sewage without any compunction. Beas and its tributaries are being polluted seriously and is bound to cause serious environmental impact result in health hazards as river water is directly consumed by people especially by the people who are living on the banks of the river. 

The river rises on the southern face of the 
Rohtang Pass above Kullu in the Beas Kund. Passing through Kullu, this enters Mandi and then Kangra. Prominent tributaries are the Parbati, Uhl, Lunj, Hurla, Baner and Banganga. With rise in tourism activity and increased population level of pollution in Beas river too has increased. 

Along the banks of Beas river three main towns of Manali, Kullu and Mandi are located where presence of large number of hotels, dhabas and other commercial establishment has further aggravated the problem as entire waste material is being dumped into the river. 

Kullu Trout Conservation and Angling Association, chairman, Advocate Shamsher Thakur said that pollution is Beas river is a matter of concern as it poses serious threat to aquatic life downstream. "Cold water of Beas river is breeding ground for Trout fish especially brown tout which too is facing threat due to increased level of pollution," he said. 

A study conducted by Central Pollution Control Board had found that level of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in Beas river at Mandi was 7.6 miligram per litre (mg/l) at Mandi and this was because of disposal of domestic waste from Mandi town in the river. According to officials from pollution control board if the BOD exceeds 6 mg/l in water body then dissolved oxygen is reduced below desired level. 

Senior Scientist at GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development in Mohal district Kullu, Dr J C Kuniyal said that solution to garbage disposal is quite easy but people are not adopting 
the practice to dispose of the garbage in a proper manner. He said around 72% of garbage is biodegradable which could be easily turned into compost without the use of inoculants. Polluting river would not only results into health hazards but it would also hamper the growth of crops in the area. 

To save the Beas river from further pollution National Green Tribunal on Tuesday had ordered to close 34 
hotels located along river banks in Kullu and Manali as they were operating without obtaining required permissions from the pollution control board. 

In its last order Tribunal had made it clear that whosoever is found to be throwing or dumping any such material, effluent directly or indirectly into the river Beas or its tributaries or even at its banks, will have to pay a sum of Rs one lakh as compensation for causing pollution on the basis of the 'polluter pays principle' and had accordingly directed the authorities concerned to notify the direction passed in this order for knowledge and compliance of the public at large. 

"Appalled on seeing widespread pollution being caused in Beas river now National Green Tribunal (NGT) has finally started taking tough action on the issue which has led to the hope that Beas would be saved in time before it meets the fate of Ganges, "said Ghuman Singh, convener, Himalaya Niti Abhiyan.
Times of India (24-09-2013)