Detergent decaying water bodies

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Nov 2017 10:43:32



By Roshan Chachane,


Tons of efforts and crores of rupees have been spent on the cleaning off the algae and watercress infested water bodies, yet none seems to be succeeding in keeping ponds/lakes of Raipur from dying out of the suffocation by these invasive plants.

While the Civic Body is pursuing a futile course of task by just excavating the pond weeds out every year, a city based retired civil contractor identified ‘Detergent’ as the real culprit behind the slow and painful demise of water bodies.
An MSc in Chemistry, Kamal Kishore Agrawal identified the generally innocuous looking detergent that we use daily to wash fabrics, as the main cause of dying water bodies.
To be more specific, it is the phosphate, one of the major chemical compounds of detergent, feeds the waterweeds. Phosphate performs many functions in washing powders and detergents.

Phosphate causes Eutrophication in natural water bodies. Eutrophication is process which boosts nutrient-level in water and thereby creates conducive environment for waterweeds such as algae. As these algae die and decompose, it exhausts the oxygen in process, turning the water deadly for fish, but congenial for pathogenic organisms. Be it Budhatalab, Naraiya pond, or Maharajbandh pond, almost every water body in the City is infested by phosphate induced Eutrophication.

Either the civic bodies are unaware of this fact or they are lacking will to stop people from washing up their dirty laundry in ponds.  One can easily see women washing the dirty laundry on the banks of ponds, completely aloof of the fact that they are in fact destroying the critical ecosystem of the water body, thereby killing the fishes and other organisms in the water.

When asked if Raipur Municipal Corporation (RMC) will prohibit people from washing clothes in ponds, RMC Commissioner Rajat Bansal told The Hitavada that they will close down the Ghats around the Budhatalab and then at rest of the ponds to prevent pollution from detergent.