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“Namami Ganga – A National Mission Plan for Clean Ganga’’

Published on Saturday, August 13, 2016


A study conducted by the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP) in 2012, suggested that "those living along its banks in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal are more prone to cancer than
anywhere else in the country” The survey indicated that gallbladder cancer cases along the river course are the second highest in the world and prostate cancer highest in the country. The Ganges River dolphin is one of few species of fresh water dolphins in the world. Hydroelectric and irrigation dams along the Ganges that prevents the dolphins from traveling up and down the river is the main reason for their reducing population.

Introduction -

  • Longest flowing river of India
  • Its length is about 2525 km
  • Origin : Gangotri, Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand
  • Basin area : 10,80,000 km²
  • Important Cities: Varanasi, Haridwar, Kolkata, Allahabad, Patna, Kanpur,Ghazipur
  • The GANGA is the most sacred river of Hindu Religion
  • The Ganga is a trans- boundary river of INDIA& Bangladesh.
  • The GANGA river rise in western HIMALAYAS in INDIA
  • It flow south and east through the Gangatic plain of north India into Bay of Bengal.
  • The Ganga basin is the most heavily populated river basin in the world, with over 400 million people and a population density of about 1000 inhabitant per square mile

Highlighted Facts & Figures –

  • The Ganga is the largest river in India with an extraordinary religious importance for Hindus. Situated along its banks are some of the world's oldest inhabited cities like Varanasi and Patna.
  • It provides water to about 40% of India's population across 11 states, serving an estimated population of 500 million people or more, which is larger than any other river in the world.
  • Ganga is Ranked fifth among the most polluted rivers in the world.
  • According to Hindu mythology “The ganga” river have a great medicinal qualities.
  • A ganga river present a ideal biodiversity area . It have over then 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and five area hitch support bird found nowhere else in the world.
  • Ganga river producing top quality fertile soil in the world.
  • According to studies report by environmental engineers of IIT Roorkee , the ganga decomposed the organic waste 15 to 25 times faster then other river.
  • A Ganga river have a legendry medicinal qualities as compare to other HIMALAYA rivers'.
  • According to NBRI (National Botanical Research Institute) ganga water have a anti-bacterial quality .
  • It found in research the E. COLI live only 3 days in Ganga water due to its bacteria-phase quality's.
  • There is some scientific evidence for the Ganga river’s high capacity to assimilate (i.e. biodegrade) a large level of organic waste input, including pathogens.
  • Namami Gange programme launched by our PM Narendra Modi, invites all of us to take part in the cleansing of Ganga.
  • IITR is playing a major role in making The National Ganga River Basin Management Plan(NGRBMP) .
  • Clean ganga fund is accepting donations from us to take part in the program.
  • In modern times, it is known for being very polluted.

Causes of Ganga Pollution –

  • Human wastes
  • Industrial wastes
  • Dumping wastes
  • City drains.
  • Religion touristic activity.
  • Construction activities along the coast of this river.
  • Agriculture auto flow.
  • Domestic activities like those of washer men .
  • Cremation related ritual.
  • Miscellaneous : like vehicular washing, dumping of solid west etc.

Impact of pollution -

  • One of top 5 most polluted river in world
  • More polluted day by day
  • Plight of Ganges River Dolphin
  • Disapperance of River Otters and Mahasir
  • Exceeding limit of fecal coliform
  • Rise in cases of gall bladder cancer(2nd in world) and prostate cancer(highest in India)
  • Alaknanda Power Project (Uttrakhand)submerging “Dhari Devi” temple.
  • Ganga Sagar island (West Bengal), mangroves, submerged & destroyed
  • Effect of the pollution in river direct observed in fish. In the GANGA river fish become extinct .
  • The effect of the pollution increase the organic matter in river water. Presence of toxic chemical in water .
  • Impair light penetration due to oil spill.
  • The effect of water pollution strongly impact the balance of nature , which ultimately impacts all human.
  • Harms the food chain : Break the link of food chain .
  • Spread of disease: Cause cholera ,Typhoid infection diarrhea etc.
  • Affect body organ: The consuminated of highly contaminated water can cause injury to the HEART &KIDNEY .

If we oversee -

  • Chromium based industrial waste causes Threat to biodiversity
  • Skin infection caused by polluted water
  • An analysis of the Ganga water in 2006 showed significant associations between water-borne/enteric disease pop and the use of the river for bathing, laundry, washing, eating, cleaning utensils, and brushing teeth
  • Water in the Ganga has been correlated to contracting dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, as well as severe diarrhea which continues to be one of the leading causes of death of children in India

Major Steps Taken –

  • Arresting Domestic waste (soap water/ flowers/stale food)
  • Solution for Burnt/ un-burnt dead bodies
  • River Offerings and spitting / urinating/ defecating at Ghats must be controlled.
  • must invest on giving proper awareness with respect to the conducting at river places.
  • Controlling the Industrial wastes
  • The identified units will have to be given notices for alteration for controlling the waste and recycling.
  • The proper function units should be duly recognized and awarded. If found guilty again, these units should be re-located away from the river.
Government Initiatives –
  • GAP was a program launched by Rajiv Gandhi in April 1986 in order to reduce the pollution load on the river.
  • It also included the tributaries of the Ganges namely Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and Mahanada.
  • Pollution abatement, to improve the water quality by Interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage and present toxic and industrial chemical wastes entering in to the river.
  • Control of non-point pollution from agricultural run off, human defecation,cattle wallowing and throwing of un-burntand half burnt bodies into the river.
  • Research and Development to conserve the biotic, diversity of the river to augment its productivity.
  • Important Action Plan Launched by Government of India as listed below -
  • Ganga Action Plan I –
  • Launched in 1985, expenditure 450 Cr.
  • 433 Cr. spent in 25 towns for cleaning of ganga
  • Ganga Action Plan II -
  • Launched in 1995, expenditure 2285.6 Cr.
  • 615 Cr. sanctioned for 59 towns
  • 270 Cr. spent since 2007
  • National river conservation plan
Expenditure till now 10986 Cr.
  • Namami Ganga project was announced by the Government in July 2014 budget
  • Over Rs.9000 Cr. spent in last 20 years

Causes of the destruction –

  • Anthropogenic pressure
  • Industries over Ganga preservation
  • Non functioning of Sewage Treatment Plant(STP)
  • 9 billion litres untreated sewage released daily
  • 68 highly polluting industries on the banks
  • 75% waste from industries
  • Only 1 Billion Litres per Day(BLD) installation instead of 2.9 BLD
  • 402 listed tanneries only in Kanpur
  • 22 drains release tanneries toxic waste
  • Chromium level 100 times higher than permissible limit
  • Hydro Power Project(HPP) dams acts as speed breakers.
  • 300 dams being built on Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and Mandakini rivers
  • Disturb self cleansing property
  • Low efficiency of HPP
  • Submergence of 1200 hectares of forests
  • Illegal sand mining
  • Reduction in water level at haridwar
  • Half cremated bodies being dumped in the river
  • Hindu belief of “Moksha” to “Jiva”
  • Banks used as defecation ground
  • Lack of sanitary facilities
  • Dhobi ghats being established at the banks of Ganga

National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) -

  • Under MoEF
  • Constituted in 2009 by centre under section 3 (3) of Environment Protection Act,1986
  • Declared Ganga as “National River”
  • Chaired by PM
  • Since 2010 budget, the allocation doubled to Rs.500 crores
  • Financing, planning, implementing, monitoring and coordinating authority for Ganga
  • World Bank assistance(technical and monetary) of $1bn for abetment of pollution of Ganga
  • “Mission Clean Ganga 2020” under NGRBA

Mission Clean Ganga 2020


  • “By year 2020’’ , no untreated municipal sewage and industrial effluents flow into Ganga”
  • Investment to be shared between Centre and State in ratio of 70:30• Intercept sewerage and treatment

Awareness drive by GOI –

  • Media channels should be used to create awareness about the campaign
  • School & college students should be involved in the campaign along with NCC volunteers to help spread awareness amongst pilgrims about pollution and cleanliness
  • Seers and NGOs should also be included in the awareness campaign to guide the general public.

Recent Development by GOI –

  • 4 new STPs underway at Allahabad
  • Presently only 2 STPs (in Naini&Salori) which has capacity of only 109 against 232 MLD
  • Low budget and efficient solution by IESD (Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development), BHU
  • Isolated an enzyme from rice seedlings which removes toxic pollutants from rivers

Our View Point –

  • Zero tolerance policy
  • Moratorium on dam building till study of cumulative impact on environment is done
  • Follow examples of Thames (London) and Cheonggyecheon (South Korea)
  • Not to use electrical dependent pumps in STP, instead use gravity based
  • Electric /improved wood crematoria
  • Every major city eg: Varanasi, Hardwar, Allahabad & Kanpur has its individual problems, which need to be handled at the respective city level.
  • Proper sewage disposal to ensure that the river is not contaminated by the city waste & sewage
  • Water treatment plants to ensure no amount of untreated water is released in the river
  • Proper monitoring of industries along the bank to ensure, polluted water with harmful chemicals is not discharged in the river
  • Half cremated bodies should not be released in the river. Electric or improved wood crematorium should be used.
  • Proper sanitary facilities provided in places with high domestic & tourist traffic City-wise pollution control measures:
  • Strict laws & penalties for industries, municipalities & individuals who are found breaking law or polluting the river in any way
  • Polluting units should be closed or shifted [special mention-Tanneries in Kanpur]
  • Low cost Water treatment plants and sewage treatment plants to be constructed along the bank to ensure no untreated water goes in Ganga
  • The river bank should be lined with plants especially the ones that help in reducing pollution
  • Buffer zone should be created along the course of the river Water treatment & rejuvenation:
  • Maintaining proper flow
  • 100 km stretch of Gaumukh – Uttarkashi declared as eco-sensitive zone. No mega hydro projects should be allowed here.
  • Too many Hydro projects act as speed breakers and reduce the natural flow of the river. Monitoring indiscriminate number of dams is required.
  • Minimum flow should be fixed and regularly monitored
Any successful Ganga clean-up plan requires a multi thronged approach. A local micro level handling and an elaborate plan that applies to the whole course at a macro level. Presenting a brief outline of Ganga Clean up Action Plan, steps which I feel need to be taken to realize this mega goa……….

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