The water of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh, which has turned dark and muddy, has become unfit for human consumption, the State Water Quality Testing Laboratory (SWQTL) has said in a report.
The river enters India after flowing through the Tibetan plateau as Yarlung Tsangpo. It flows through Arunachal Pradesh for about 230 km to reach Pasighat and then joins the Lohit and the Dibang to form the Brahmaputra river in Assam. The laboratory under the Arunachal Pradesh Public Health Engineering and Water Supply (Sanitation) department, in its report, has said the water of the Siang is unfit for human consumption.
The report stated that the Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) content of the water sample was 482, while the iron content was recorded at 1.65 mg/litre, which was beyond the permissible limits. The water sample of the river was sent to the laboratory by the Water Resources Department's Executive Engineer, Tamo Jamoh, on November 29, an official report informed. According to experts, at normal level, iron is not deadly for the aquatic animals, but unusually high amounts of iron in water may lead to adverse changes in its colour, odour and taste and also have negative effects on the aquatic animals' behaviour and health.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu had drawn the attention of the Centre on the river's contamination, which he said might have been caused due to activities on the Chinese side and asked the Government of India to take up the matter with Beijing. During his visit to East Siang district on Saturday, Khandu had expressed concern over the water of the river turning muddy and the hight content of NTU in it.
Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering had last month written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard, noting that the water of the river changing its colour was an unusual phenomenon in the winter months. "It has been two months since the Siang turned black and contaminated. It is an unusual phenomenon. The reason for the river getting dirty is unknown," the Congress MP had said in the letter.
Ering had claimed that there could be no reason for the river getting contaminated in November other than a possible heavy land excavation on the Chinese side, adding that it had to be verified by an international team. "I have already put up questions for discussions in Parliament under rule 377. But since the House is not in session, I am requesting you to use your good office to seek the reason for the river turning muddy in this season, when the water is usually crystal clear," Ering had written to Modi.