Pollution in River Ganga

Water of river Ganga, which is considered as nectar in India, has become poisonous today. What to talk of drinking, it cannot even be used for bathing. A dangerous virus named Bacteriophase is found in the Ganga. The quantity of mud is increasing continuously. The cities of Haridwar, Bijnaur, Farukhabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Banaras, Ghazipur, Ballia, Chhapra, Patna, Barauni and Munger are settled on the banks of river Ganga, dispose of sewage and industrial waste in the Ganga, spreading dangerous pollution.

Due to presence of such pollutant materials, ERL laboratory of Lucknow has placed water of river Ganga in ‘D’ category, according to which it water is not suitable for drinking and bathing. It can be used only for fisheries and forest creatures. Our relation with river Ganga is also from the historical point of view and not just from the religious angle. Our civilization and devel­opment is connected with this river basin. Jawaharlal Nehru had remarked that “The Ganga is Life of India”. In the beginning, the water of river Ganga was very pure, soft and healthy.

Our ancestors had framed rules for preserving the purity of its water but revolu­tionary economic development and increasing population during the 20th century have broken these rules. Brahm Puran scriptures written between 325 to 400 AD clearly stated that “Keep Ganga clean”. Throwing dirty water, throwing flowers after worship, washing filthy clothes, throwing of hair, rowdyism, doing vulgar activities, throwing of dirty clothes etc. were prohibited.

We could not think of pollution of river Ganga 1,500 years back. Today, as a result of it, water of river Ganga is going beyond the reach of the biotic community and we have played an important role in this. Mainstream of river Ganga flows through four states, i.e., Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, but its companion rivers bring water from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

In the Ganga, mainly silt, biotic and chemical pollutants are found. Silt is received from soil through soil erosion. About 150 crore ton silt is deposited in the Ganga every year. Soil erosion can be controlled by dense tree plantation in watershed areas. This can help get rid of the silt problem. Organic and chemical pollutants come from cities situated near the banks of river Ganga.

The waste of 29 big cities having population of more than one lakh and 23 medium cities having population ranging between 50,000 to one lakh situated on the banks of river, is mixing in it. In most of these cities, there is no sewerage system. Chemical pollutants from waste coming out of the industrial units situated on banks of the river also mix with the water polluting it.

The Ganga flows through densely populated areas of India. Among the big industries located on the banks of Ganga River, 86 are in Uttar Pradesh, three are in Bihar and 43 are in West Bengal. In Uttar Pradesh, 59 out of the 86 industries are leather industries, which dispose off poisonous chemicals in heavy quantities. Poisonous indus­trial wastes including acid, alkaline, sulphate, nitrate etc. also directly mix in the Ganga without any treatment.

Maximum domestic waste mixes in Ganga in West Bengal. Thus, on an average, among the pollutants mixing in Ganga, 80 per cent is domestic waste and 20 per cent is industrial waste. Domestic filth of the metropolitan city of Kolkata and the waste of nearby textile industries, paper industries, tanneries etc. is disposed off in the Bhagirathi-Hooghly river.

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