PHE report finds abnormality in Siang waters, China says it has duty to preserve South Tibet environment

Pema visits Siang

[ Tongam Rina ]

ITANAGAR, Dec 2: The East Siang Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department has said that Siang water is high on iron content. Based on water sample collected on November 27, the report by Executive Engineer Bimal Welly says that Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU), caused by concentration of suspended or dissolved particulate materials in water is 425 NTU, whereas the permissible range is 0-5 NTU.
The report says that “NTU is very high and if exposed for a long period of time, may affect aquatic lives”.
The same sample will be sent to the State Water Testing Laboratory in Itanagar. The sample has been sent to the North East Regional Institute of Science and Technology in Nirjuli for further studies.
The study came after Congress MP Ninong Ering wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a request to take up with the Chinese Government regarding sudden change in Siang water quality.
According to a state government official, the highest recorded NTU has been 330 during the peak monsoon which clear up soon.
Meanwhile, responding to reports that muddy Siang is because of the constructions upstream, China has said that “South Tibet is the territory of China, which has the duty to preserve local environment”.
China claims Arunachal as South Tibet.
The Global Times credited the statement to Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of International Relations.
“India should not point its finger at China on hydrological issues to incite anti-China sentiment, which cannot help repair the ties of the two countries” the report further added.
“This time India has made a mountain out of a molehill challenging China by citing slag. India should look for problems on their own side, otherwise, Sino-Indian ties can hardly improve” the report added.
Speaking to this daily, Vijay Taram, a water activist with the Forum for Siang Dialogue said that water is muddy right from Gelling, the entry point in India. He said that Government of India should take up the matter with China.
China diverting the Siang is not an issue but it should not pollute the water, he said.
He says that muddy water appears to be because of mining.
While China has not said anything about the muddy Siang water, experts say that heavy sedimentation could be because of large-scale metal mining. Tibet has significant reserves of metal mining, which has been converted into a large industry by China, says an environmentalist while speaking to this daily.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pema Khandu visited the river in Yingkiong on Saturday. Pema said that report on the ground realities will be submitted to the centre soon.
Local authorities informed the Chief Minister that the quality of the water in the river has not improved despite the beginning of winter.