The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment has asked the state and central pollution control boards to conduct a thorough scientific study to find out why the Lukha River changed its colour to bright blue.
The house panel led by its Chairman and MLA, S K Sunn along with other members today visited Lukha in East Jaiñtia Hills district accompanied by scientists from the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board and other officials.
Scientist-C of the pollution board, B. Swer told the committee that the river has high aluminum silicate and when the sun reflects in the waters it gives out a blue colour. He further explained that the waters in Ummutha river, located upstream of Lukha has high alkaline content because of the presence of limestone quarries while the Lunar river situated near it turned acidic. These rivers—Ummutha and Lunar—joins the Lukha, and when tested the pH scale was at 8.2 where fish can still survive.
On the death of fishes in Lukha, Swer said a study shows that white chemicals enter the gills of the fishes leading to death.
The environment committee not satisfied with the explanation said that the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Board should conduct an investigation and submit their report even as the panel said that an independent enquiry into the phenomenon is required.
“We need to explain to the people on why the Lukha river turns blue and that is why the pollution control boards have to find out the reason. They should collect sample of the water from the river and conduct a thorough study into this matter,” Sun said.
Stating that during the Covid-19 lockdown the river did not turn blue, Sun also said it was surprising that the water located at Brichyrnot near Khaddum is yellow.
Member of the committee and MLA of Mawsynram, Himalaya M Shangpliang too expressing surprise said, “In one part we find the water turning blue and upstream the water is yellow. Therefore, we need to understand how such a phenomenon occurs and the pollution control boards have to find out so that the report can be placed in the table of the house.”
It may be mentioned that Ever since 2007, the water has turned blue at regular intervals while several fishes also perished. The Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board had carried out a detailed scientific study after the first incident was reported in February that year. The report had cited “unscientific coal mining” as the reason behind the death of fishes.