This environment day, we come across a very disheartening news! The most revered river of our country, Ganga is now officially declared to be unfit for drinking and bathing as per CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board). Ganga is not just any river for most of the Indians, insteadit has been carrying a special spiritual significance.People from all over flock to take a dip in this ‘holy’ river. Leave apart drinking, but even bathing is considered detrimental now. As per their report, there are mere seven spots from where the river Ganga passes, which can be used for consumption after disinfection. Also, only 18 spots are being considered fit for bathing,whereas, 62 areas from where the river flows areunfit for the same purpose.
Excerpts from the report:
The latest data with CPCB points out at the Uttar Pradesh- West Bengal stretch where the river Ganga is inept for consumption and even bathing purposes. The reports indicate a high level of coliform bacteria in the water. Coliform bacteria are the ones present in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans, and are found in their feces, indicating a large amount fecal waste being discharged in the river. Over 86 live monitoring stations were installed in as many places to detect the quality of water. Out of them, 78 locations were found unfit, while merely seven places were found to be fit, that too after undergoing the disinfection process.
A few stretches in Uttarakhand and two locations in West Bengal are marked in green in the ‘Sustainability of River Ganga water’ map released by CPCB. The greenmark indicatesthat water in those areas can be consumed after disinfection whereas the rest of the Ganga water is unfit for drinking and bathing for the entire route till it drains into the Bay of Bengal.
Ongoing efforts, but the disappointing results!
Despite several plans and efforts made by the National Green Tribunal, disinfecting the Ganga river water seems like a far-fetched dream. ‘NamamiGange’, an ambitious program initiated by the Ministry of Water Resources has been implemented seriously. 30 percent of the river pollution is attributed to the Industrial waste and the rest 70 percent is all due to the sewage waste. Union Environment Secretary C K Mishra has confirmed that over 1100 industrial units are present on the banks of river Ganga, but today not even one release their waste black water in the river. But he also accepted the disappointing reports and confirmed to theongoing efforts for tackling the sewage problem. Environmental activist and lawyer Vikrant Tongad also lauded the efforts, but at the same time elucidated the fact that the efforts till date have been insufficient. He opined that several other measures including public awakening and their involvement as well aseffective handling of the agricultural waste created by using pesticides are required. Its certainly not 2020, by when the government had planned to clean this river, but if proper measures are not taken, this sacred river will be abandoned by people for even worshipping by 2025!