EFFECT OF MASS BATHING ON WATER QUALITY OF SACRED LAKES OF RAJASTHAN, INDIAPRAKASH C. SHARMA, M.M. RANGA AND DEEPTI MISHRA
Pushkar Sarovar and Anasagar are among important water bodies for pilgrimage tourism in Rajasthan, India. Mass bathing is most common practice which adds organic pollutants to the lake system. In addition to this point source pollution from mass bathing these water bodies are also exposed to non-point source pollution from domestic and agriculture runoff. To assess effect of mass bathing water sampling was done before, during and after Pushkar fair (Kartik Snan) for Pushkar Sarovar for a period of six month. Similarly water sampling was done for a period of six months before, during and after Urs (fair) for Anasagar Lake at Ajmer. The samples were collected and analyzed for temperature, pH, turbidity, TDS, DO (% saturation), BOD (5day), Dissolved phosphate, Nitrate and fecal coliform. The Water Quality Index (WQI) was calculated to assess overall quality of water samples. The WQI clearly reflected that the water of these two lakes is not safe for direct contact and bathing. The WQI values of Pushkar Sarovar and Anasagar are calculated 59.07 and 49.78 on 100-point scale. The water quality index value of these two lakes was found much lowered during Pushkar fair particularly at Brahma Ghat (54.86) of Pushkar Sarovar and during Urs (36.97) at Rishi Ghati of Anasagar Lake, where mass bathing is pronounced. The water quality of both holy water bodies is below their intended use, i.e. outdoor organized bathing, with desirable WQI value more than 71. Water Quality of Pushkar Sarovar is Average and belongs to C category of CPCB which can be used for bathing and drinking purpose only after conventional water treatment and disinfection. Similarly water quality of Anasagar Lake is Fair and belongs to D category of CPCB. This lake is good for wildlife propagation but is bad for outdoor bathing purpose.
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