Ganga: The world’s dirtiest river gets even dirtier – Mail Today

Bhagirathi at Gangotri

Ganga at Har ki Pauri Haridwar

Uma BhartiThe BJP-led government recently launched the Namami Gange programme on the banks of the river in Uttarakhand when 250 projects worth Rs 1,500 crore were launched. … Officials said that from the Gangotri to Ganga Sagar, “Namami Gange” will ensure cleanliness of the river for which Rs 20,000 crore have been earmarked. – Mail Online India

Crores of rupees spent on cleaning the Ganga over the years have gone down the drain with the holy river becoming even filthier.

A recent report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows that water quality has worsened at places between Haridwar and Kanpur with heavy presence of fecal coliform bacteria and pollutants like heavy metals and pesticides.

The 1,569 mile-long river that runs from a glacier in the western Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal supports more than 400 million of India’s 1.25 billion population.

In the study “Restoration and rejuvenation of Ganga”, the findings claim: “The River Ganga is blocked and dammed at many places and water has been diverted for various uses. As a result, the water quality and ecological sanctity is threatened.”

The report has made many startling revelations about the water quality due to discharge of untreated sewage into the river.

It says that at present 823.1 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage is being discharged, without treatment, over a distance of 543 km between Haridwar and Kanpur.

Also, the stretch is affected by 1,072 polluting industries.

The latest data show that the water quality worsens as the river flows from Haridwar down to Kanpur.

While the quality criteria mentions that the fecal coliform content should be less than 2500 MPN/100 ml, in a part of Kanpur it reached 40,000 this year.

In 2015, the figure it was 20,889 at that location.

The CPCB has suggested that 30 storm-water drains carrying sewage, sullage and other wastes joining the Ganga at various locations, should have flow measuring systems at the terminal points for assessing the quantity of waste water being discharged.

Also, these drains should be hygienically maintained and properly dredged at regular intervals.

The dredged material should be disposed of properly without any adverse environmental impacts. The board has also recommended that all the factories discharging industrial effluents should transmit online data of their waste matter quality to pollution control boards both at the Centre and state.

“These industries should also submit fortnightly data of effluent-quality based on samples collected manually and getting it analysed through laboratory recognised under the Environment Protection Act,” it said.

The BJP-led government recently launched the Namami Gange programme on the banks of the river in Uttarakhand when 250 projects worth Rs 1,500 crore were launched.

These projects were also launched at 108 places situated on the banks of sub-tributaries.

Officials said that from the Gangotri to Ganga Sagar, “Namami Gange” will ensure cleanliness of the river for which Rs 20,000 crore have been earmarked. – Mail Online India, 21 September 2016

Ganga Barrage at Kanpur

Ganga at Varanasi

Ganga at Patna

See also

  • All Ganga articles here

4 Responses

  1. Sad, very sad. What is also surprising is that millions seem to continue to bathe in the Ganga, despite the enormous pollution.

    And who precisely are the polluting industries ? Are these people really HIndu ?

    • Ganga at Kanpur

      The pollution starts in Rishikesh itself which has a major pharmaceutical company dumping chemicals into the river. The next major polluter is Kanpur with 5000 tannery units dumping their chemical sullage and sewage into the river via canals (as in the photo above).

      Narendra Modi will not dare touch these tanneries as his government practices serious minority appeasement just like its Congress predecessor. Besides, these minority-owned industries are following his “development” dharma to the letter, which is the only dharma his government recognises today.

      Then comes Varanasi where all toilets empty directly into the Ganga at five different points along the seven kms of bathing ghats including the famous Dashashwamedh Ghat where every pilgrim must bath.

      Some decades ago a Frenchman walked from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar and back again. It took him two or three years. He followed the ancient rule of the river pilgrimage, that only the water of the river itself is drunk. If I remember correctly, he suffered no ill effects. He explains in the book that there is a scientifically-proven bacteriophage virus in the river that keeps it clean and pure—at the time of his pilgrimage anyhow.

      But there is one primary condition that must be maintained in order for the bacteriophage to thrive in the river, which the Brahmins were aware of and explained to the British engineers when they started building dams: the river water must be kept free-flowing at all times without blockage.

      The river must also be kept free of harsh chemicals which inhibit or kill the activity of the bacteriophage. Apparently the British understood the issue and a free-flow water opening was always maintained in their first barrages.

      But since independence this practice of not blocking the river flow completely has been ignored. Huge closed dams blocking the river water flow and the dumping of chemicals in the river has virtually destroyed the bacteriophage and it cleansing activity completely.

      Interestingly the Yamuna was the only other river known to contain a bacteriophage virus though it was of much lesser quantity and effect than in the Ganga. The bacteriophage in the Yamuna has been completely destroyed by the dumping of chemical waste at Delhi. This industrial activity has turned the river into a very toxic sewer.

      • well said! nirmal (pure) and aviral (uninterrupted) Ganga was what that was being demanded even from the pre-independence days by the likes of Madan Mohan Malaviya. The pavitrata of the holy river gets destroyed if it blocked at various places for the sake of power generation (to power “great” purposes like tourism, hotels, consumerism etc) or the proposed inland waterways. And not to speak of the pollution by certain “secular” industrialists.

        The chief polluter of the river, Uttar Pradesh should be mightily ashamed of itself for letting the river get defiled, due to vote bank politics over the decades. I am afraid to say that there would be no expiation for such a “sin”. The rulers (along with their macaulayan advisors like the bureaucrats, policy-makers and scientists) are fattening themselves at the cost of our glorious ecological wealth — be it cows & bulls, the Ganga, soil fertility etc through green/white etc “revolutions”. Take for instance the injunction “Gavaarthe Bhoopathih sadyah Praananapi parityajEth” — “A king, if need be, should sacrifice his own life for the sake of protecting a cow”. Today we find our “kings” (forget about fighting on a battlefield, they hardly know how to defend their own selves when confronted with an ordinary adversary — and to think of such people sitting in their cocoons and commanding the armed forces, all in the name of democracy!! requiem, Kshaatra-dharma!) are saving their own skin and allowing the cows to be slaughtered!! What a fall!

        Yatha Raja Tatha Praja.

  2. “The CPCB has suggested that 30 storm-water drains carrying sewage, sullage and other wastes joining the Ganga at various locations, should have flow measuring systems at the terminal points for assessing the quantity of waste water being discharged.”

    It beats one’s common sense as to why sullage be allowed to release in Ganga in the first place? What nonsense is this? Rajendra Singh, the truly illustrious waterman of India, laments that post-Independent India is still clinging to the brainless order of one Hawkins, the British municipal commissioner of Varanasi in 1932, to connect sewer lines to the Ganga. Some love of our Mother River!

    Heaven and earth are being moved in metropolises to construct fly-overs, but the will, which is all it simply takes, to prevent industries and municipal bodies from polluting the Ganga, somehow not able to be mustered by successive governments!

    Rs.20,000 crores for the clean-up! Clean-up of what—the river (or) our lifestyles & economic policies?

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