Sunday, June 9, 2013

River Ganga Now Left With Just 15 Pct of Pure Water

River Ganga Now Left With Just 15 Pct of Pure Water

By SiliconIndia | Wednesday, 05 June 2013, 04:08 Hrs

Further, the Ministry of Environment and Forest has sanctioned projects worth Rs 2,598.47 crore under NGRBA to UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal and it is noted that UP got maximum funds - Rs 1,341.60 crore - from the Centre for pollution abatement works on the Ganga. But the progress is slow on the sanctioned projects.

On the other hand conservationists say that more than funds, public awareness and an administrative will is required to save the Ganga. It was seen that the Ganga water samples have shown excess content of human excreta. Though the river has high oxygen content compared to any other rivers system, the pollution is taking away from it its self-purification properties.

In another report it was stated that in the last one month, Varanasi police received numerous complaints to lodge FIRs against unnamed people for "polluting Ganga River". People are turning a blind eye to the damage caused to the environment and such is the condition of the holy river in our country. The river is believed to wash away the sins but this amount of pollution is like pushing its limits beyond its possible capacity. 

The holy river can be revived only if more efforts are taken to spread awareness and save if from pollution.

Comment by Anumakonda Jagadeesh

Very good article.

The Ganges is the largest river in India with an extraordinary religious importance forHindus. Along its banks are some of the world's oldest inhabited places like Varanasiand Patna. It provides water to about 40% of India's population in 11 states Today, it is one of the five most polluted rivers in the world.
An estimated 2.9 billion litres or more of human sewage is discharged into the Ganges daily (200 million litres daily in the city Varanasi alone), although the existing treatment plants have capacity to treat only 1.1 billion litres per day, leaving a huge deficit.

The Ganges river basin is one of the most fertile and densely populated regions in the world and covers an area of 1,080,000 km2(400,000 square miles). The river flows through 29 cities with population over 100,000; 23 cities with population between 50,000 and 100,000, and about 48 towns. A large proportion of the waste in the Ganges is from this population through domestic usage like bathing, laundry and public defecation.

Built in 1854 during the British colonization of India, the Haridwar dam has led to decay of the Ganges by greatly diminishing the flow of the river. The Farakka Barrage was built originally to divert fresh water into the Bhagirathi River but has since caused an increase of salinity in the Ganges, having a damaging effect on the ground water and soil along the river.The barrage has caused major tension between Bangladesh and India. The government of India has planned about 300 dams on the Ganges and its tributaries in the near future despite a government-commissioned green panel report that has recommended scrapping 34 of the dams citing environmental concerns. 

A 2006 measurement of pollution in the Ganges revealed that river water monitoring over the previous 12 years had demonstrated fecal coliform counts up to 100,000,000 MPN (most probable number) per 100 ml and biological oxygen demand levels averaging over 40 mg/l in the most polluted part of the river in Varanasi. The overall rate of water-borne/enteric disease incidence, including acute gastrointestinal disease, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis-A, and typhoid, was estimated to be about 66%.
A systematic classification done by Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board’s (UEPPCB) on river waters into the categories A: safe for drinking, B: safe for bathing, C: safe for agriculture, and D: excessive pollution, put the Ganges in D. Coliform bacteria levels in the Ganges have also been tested to be at 5,500, a level too high to be safe for agricultural use let alone drinking and bathing.

The Ganga Action Plan or GAP was a program launched by Rajiv Gandhi in April 1986 in order to reduce the pollution load on the river. But the efforts to decrease the pollution level in the river became more after spending र 901.71 Crore (~190 million USD adjusting to inflation). Therefore, this plan was withdrawn on 31 March 2000. The steering Committee of the National River Conservation Authority reviewed the progress of the GAP and necessary correction on the basis of lessons learned and experiences gained from the GAP phase; 2 schemes have been completed under this plan. A million litres of sewage is targeted to be intercepted, diverted and treated. Phase-II of the program was approved in stages from 1993 onwards, and included the following tributaries of the Ganges: Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and Mahananda. As of 2011, it is currently under implementation. 

Scientists and religious leaders have speculated on the causes of the river's apparent self-purification effect, in which water-borne bacteria such as dysentery and cholera are killed off thus preventing large-scale epidemics. Some studies have reported that the river retains more oxygen than is typical for comparable rivers; this could be a factor leading to fewer disease agents being present in the water.


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