Mahadev talking about saving the river Ganga, has given me some inspiration & to be a responsible person of this country.So now I m given you an insight of how terribly our holy river is polluted.
POLLUTION:-The Ganges suffers from extreme pollution levels, which affect the 400 million people who live close to the river.Sewage from many cities along the river's course, industrial waste and religious offerings wrapped in non-degradable plastics add large amounts of pollutants to the river as it flows through densely populated areas. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many poorer people rely on the river on a daily basis for bathing, washing, and cooking.The World Bank estimates that the health costs of water pollution in India equal three per cent of India's GDP. It has also been suggested that eighty per cent of all illnesses in India and one-third of deaths can be attributed to water-borne diseases.Varanasi, a city of one million people that many pilgrims visit to take a "holy dip" in the Ganges, releases around 200 million litres of untreated human sewage into the river each day, leading to large concentrations of faecal coliform bacteria. According to official standards, water safe for bathing should not contain more than 500 faecal coliforms per 100ml, yet upstream of Varanasi's ghats the river water already contains 120 times as much, 60,000 faecal coliform bacteria per 100 ml.After the cremation of the deceased at Varanasi's ghats the bones and ashes are thrown into the Ganges. However, in the past thousands of uncremated bodies were thrown into the Ganges during cholera epidemics, spreading the disease. Even today, holy men, pregnant women, people with leprosy/chicken pox, people who had been bitten by snakes, people who had committed suicide, the poor, and children under 5 are not cremated at the ghats but are floated free to decompose in the waters. In addition, those who can not afford the large amount of wood needed to incinerate the entire body, leave behind a lot of half burned body parts.After passing through Varanasi, and receiving 32 streams of raw sewage from the city, the concentration of fecal coliforms in the river's waters rises from 60,000 to 1.5 million,with observed peak values of 100 million per 100 ml. Drinking and bathing in its waters therefore carries a high risk of infection.
Between 1985 and 2000, Rs. 1,000 crore (Rs. 10 billion, around US$ 226 million, or less than 4 cents per person per year) were spent on the Ganga Action Plan, an environmental initiative that was "the largest single attempt to clean up a polluted river anywhere in the world." The Ganga Action Plan has been described variously as a "failure," a "major failure, a "colossal failure," and a "widely recognized failure."According to one study,The Ganga Action Plan, which was taken on priority and with much enthusiasm, was delayed for two years. The expenditure was almost doubled. But the result was not very appreciable. Much expenditure was done over the political propaganda. The concerning governments and the related agencies were not very prompt to make it a success. The public of the areas was not taken into consideration. The releasing of urban and industrial wastes in the river was not controlled fully. The flowing of dirty water through drains and sewers were not adequately diverted. The continuing customs of burning dead bodies, throwing carcasses, washing of dirty clothes by washermen, and immersion of idols and cattle wallowing were not checked. Very little provision of public latrines was made and the open defecation of lakhs of people continued along the riverside. All these made the Action Plan a failure.The failure of the Ganga Action Plan, has also been variously attributed to "environmental planning without proper understanding of the human–environment interactions," Indian "traditions and beliefs,""corruption and a lack of technical knowledge"and "lack of support from religious authorities."In December 2009 the World Bank agreed to loan India US$ 1 billion over the next five years to help save the river.According to 2010 Planning Commission estimates, an investment of almost Rs. 7,000 crore (Rs. 70 billion, approximately US$ 1.5 billion) is needed to clean up the river.In November 2008, the Ganges, alone among India's rivers, was declared a "National River", facilitating the formation of a Ganga River Basin Authority that would have greater powers to plan, implement and monitor measures aimed at protecting the river.The incidence of water-borne and enteric diseases – such as gastrointestinal disease, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid – among people who use the river's waters for bathing, washing dishes and brushing teeth is high, at an estimated 66% per year.Recent studies by ICMR say, It's so full of killer pollutants that those living along its banks in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal are more prone to cancer than anywhere else in the country.Conducted by the National Cancer Registry Programme under the Indian Council of Medical Research, the study throws up shocking findings. The river is thick with heavy metals and lethal chemicals that cause cancer, it says. "We know that the incidence of cancer was highest in the country in areas drained by the Ganga. We also know why. Now, we are going deeper into the problem. Hopefully, we'll be able to present a report to the health ministry in a month or two," NCRP head A Nandkumar said.
ECOLOGY & ENVIRONMENT:- Human development, mostly agriculture, has replaced nearly all of the original natural vegetation of the Ganges basin. More than 95% of the upper Gangetic Plain has been degraded or converted to agriculture or urban areas. Only one large block of relatively intact habitat remains, running along the Himalayan foothills and including Rajaji National Park, Jim Corbett National Park, andDudhwa National Park. As recently as the 16th and 17th centuries the upper Gangetic Plain harbored impressive populations of wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), tigers (Panthera tigris), Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), gaurs (Bos gaurus), barasinghas (Rucervus duvaucelii), sloth Bears (Melursus ursinus) and Indian lions. In the 21st century there are few large wild animals, mostly deer, boars, wildcats, and small numbers of wolves, jackals, and foxes. Bengal tigers survive only in the Sundarbans area of the Ganges Delta. Crocodiles and barasingha are also found in the Sundarbans. The Sundarbands freshwater swamp ecoregion, however, is nearly extinct.Threatened mammals in the upper Gangetic Plain include the tiger, elephant, sloth bear, and chousingha (Tetracerus quadricornis).Fish are found in all the major rivers of the Ganges basin, and are a vital food source for many people. In the Bengal area common fish include featherbacks (Notopteridae family), barbs (Cyprinidae), walking catfish (Clarias batrachus),gouramis (Anabantidae), and milkfish (Chanos chanos). The critically endangeredGanges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) is also found in the river and other places in south Asia.Many types of birds are found throughout the basin, such as myna, parrots, crows,kites, partridges, and fowls. Ducks and snipes migrate across the Himalayas during the winter, attracted in large numbers to wetland areas.There are no endemicbirds in the upper Gangetic Plain. The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) and Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indicus) are considered globally threatened.The natural forest of the upper Gangetic Plain has been so thoroughly eliminated it is difficult to assign a natural vegetation type with certainty. There are a few small patches of forest left, and they suggest that much of the upper plains may have supported a tropical moist deciduous forest with sal (Shorea robusta) as a climax species.The Ganges River itself supports the mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) and the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). The river's most famed fauna is the freshwater dolphin Platanista gangetica gangetica, the Ganges River dolphin,recently declared India's national aquatic animal.A similar situation is found in the lower Gangetic Plain, which includes the lower Brahmaputra River. The lower plains contain more open forests, which tend to be dominated by Bombax ceiba in association with Albizzia procera, Duabanga grandiflora, and Sterculia vilosa. There are early seral forest communities that would eventually become dominated by the climax species sal (Shorea robusta), if forest succession was allowed to proceed. In most places forests fail to reach climax conditions due to human causes. The forests of the lower Gangetic Plain, despite thousands of years of human settlement, remained largely intact until the early 20th century. Today only about 3% of the ecoregion is under natural forest and only one large block, south of Varanasi, remains. There are over forty protected areas in the ecoregion, but over half of these are less than 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi). The fauna of the lower Gangetic Plain is similar to the upper plains, with the addition of a number of other species such as the Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and the Large Indian Civet (Viverra zibetha).
GANGES RIVER DOLPHIN:- The Ganges River Dolphin, which used to exist in large schools near to urban centres in both the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, is now seriously threatened by pollution and dam construction. Their numbers have now dwindled to a quarter of their numbers of fifteen years before, and they have become extinct in the Ganges's main tributaries. A recent survey by the World Wildlife Fund found only 3,000 left in the water catchment of both river systems.The Ganges river dolphin is one of only four freshwater dolphins in the world. The other three are the baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) of the Yangtze River in China, now likely extinct, the bhulan of the Indus River in Pakistan, and the boto of the Amazon River in Brazil. There are several marine dolphines whose ranges include some freshwater habitats, but these four are the only dolphins who live only in freshwater rivers and lakes.
WATER SHORTAGES:- The Tibetan Plateau contains the world's third-largest store of ice. Qin Dahe, the former head of the China Meteorological Administration, said that the recent fast pace of melting and warmer temperatures will be good for agriculture and tourism in the short term; but issued a strong warning:"Temperatures are rising four times faster than elsewhere in China, and the Tibetan glaciers are retreating at a higher speed than in any other part of the world... In the short term, this will cause lakes to expand and bring floods and mudflows... In the long run, the glaciers are vital lifelines for Asian rivers, including the Indus and the Ganges. Once they vanish, water supplies in those regions will be in peril."In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fourth Report, stated that the Himalayan glaciers which feed the river, were at risk of melting by 2035. The IPCC has now withdrawn that prediction, as the original source admitted that it was speculative and the cited source was not a peer reviewed finding.In its statement, the IPCC stands by its general findings relating to the Himalayan glaciers being at risk from global warming (with consequent risks to water flow into the Gangetic basin).
ILLEGAL MINING &STONE CRUSHING in THE RIVER BED:-Illegal mining in the Ganges river bed for stones and sand for construction work has been a long problem in Haridwar district, Uttarakhand, where it touches the plains for the first time. This is despite the fact that quarrying has been banned in Kumbh Melaarea zone covering 140 km2 area in Haridwar. On 14 June, Swami Nigamanada, a 34-year-old monk who was fasting since 19 February 2011 against illegal mining and stone crushing along the Ganges near Haridwar, died at the Himalayan Hospital in Jollygrant in Dehradun, after prolonged coma in the hospital's intensive care unit. His death put a spotlight on the activity and resulted in the intervention of the Union Environment minister.
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