Meerut: Alarmed over “disturbingly high” levels of toxic metals in rivers passing through Western Uttar Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday formed a committee of four experts to carry out an “intensive” survey of all the 316 factories located near their banks. The green panel’s move comes close on the heels of a government lab report, which cited high levels of toxins in the rivers, including Hindon, Kali and Krishna.
“A team of specialists had collected samples of water from the rivers in Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Saharanpur districts, and got them tested at SIMA Labs, an entity recognized by Ministry of Environment and Forests, and UP Pollution Control Board.
“The test results showed disturbingly high levels of toxic metals like cadmium, zinc, chrome, nickel, iron, lead, fluoride and mercury in river water. The Tuesday order is a great development for the people of the region,” said Chandraveer Singh, a retired senior scientist of Haryana Pollution Control Board and one of the petitioners.
Hundreds of residents in several villages of West UP districts, including Baghpat, are suffering from cancer, bone deformity and several other dreaded diseases apparently due to the toxic water of the rivers. Such is the prevalence of cancer in the some pockets of the region that the health department has started holding regular camps to screen locals for the dreaded disease.