Pollution At The Ganges

May 11th, 2008 BY Prav | 10 Comments

Thousands of Indian people throng the Ganges River everyday. This river is considered Holy and is worshiped by the Hindus. While this Holy River is extremely beautiful, the sad fact is that, it has become a hole of pollution.

Chemicals, left over flowers, untreated sewage,cremated remains all this and much more are found in this river. People taking a bath, washing their laundry are quite familiar sights here. Cows and various animals wade through the water. All such things have lead to the growth and development of microbes that cause various diseases. Moreover the presence of a leather industry close to the river, adds to the pollution. Various chemicals including chromium is leaked into the river. Additional burden is placed on the river by tonnes of untreated sewage. US researchers and biologists have stated that the Ganges has become a place where genetic material transfers and creates new pathogens.

The river provides for water for many people in the region. However due to its current polluted state, people are susceptible to various waterborne diseases caused.

Researchers in conjunction with Indian government labs took samples of the water for testing purposes. E.Coli bacteria was found. This bacteria is responsible for various illness including causing kidney failure, dysentery, food poisoning, and in certain extreme cases, it could also lead to death.

So, what can be done in order to cure this polluted river? It’s important that the Indian government and authorities and realize the importance of taking immediate action. It’s essential that the water needs to be treated in order to prevent people from falling ill and spreading diseases. Involvement of the highest authorities of the country is important. Further educating the people in order that they don’t contribute to the already existing pollution is another aspect. Certain things like washing clothes, feeding cattle should be strictly prohibited. While this may not reduce the already existing pollution, it will definitely ensure that no more waste is added to the polluted waters.

Polluted or not, the Holy Ganges is a place where people will continue to visit, due to the religious significance attached to it. It’s critical that authorities take action now, or the condition is only going to worsen.

  1. Serenity

    It’s absolutely tragic that such a revered holy place can become a breeding ground for infectious diseases. I hope the powers that be take action soon to somehow alleviate that both in practical terms and educating the public. A very sad situation there indeed. Thanks for highlighting it, Praveen.

  2. mollyL

    So sad. The holy Ganges sustained these kinds of activities for thousands of years, but somehow managed to avoid pollution. It will be an extremely difficult undertaking to educate people what it might take to treat the river, much less get them to stop what they are doing in and around the
    River. Indeed, the families who journey long distances to cremate their dear ones at the Holy Ganges will have to be educated as well; they feel it is imperative that their departed be cremated in this holy spot.

  3. tater03

    I would agree that educated the people is the first start. The thing is it sounds like this river is part of their daily culture and needs to be used so there has to be some way of treating it.

  4. Steve Hamner

    I have been conducting research on sewage pollution of the Ganges River and waterborne disease in Varanasi. The most serious issue in Varanasi is that untreated (or, at best, inadequately treated) human sewage is released directly into the Ganges. The number of fecal coliform bacteria, including pathogens like E. coli O157:H7, is alarmingly high and a cause for great concern regarding public health and disease threat. The political will must be generated in India’s leaders to serious address this important public health issue. Steve Hamner, Dept. of Microbiology, Montana State University

    • Responses to Steve Hamner
      Ben says:
      November 29


      I am a student in the UC Davis Agricultural Economics program, also researching the levels of pollution and instances of disease in this specific region of Uttar Pradesh. I am also well aware of the amounts of untreated sewage that is dumped daily into the river water that so many people bathe in. If I may ask, what policy treatments do you think UP could utilize to bring its clarity back to that of bathe-able water?

      • 6
        Steve Hamner says:
        December 4


        If you wish, email me at shamner@montana.edu and I can send you a few articles discussing the Ganges situation. As a short reply to your question, to clean up the river, appropriate infrastructure has to be put in place.
        best regards, Steve

  5. Manjri sharma

    I really feel disgusted at the way this holy river Ganga is treated in India by the Hindus. If they they don’t have respect for their mother then why do they worship it and come from far off places to take a dip in it.

  6. Bhupesh Dubey

    It is shameful that mother Ganga is being treated as such by Hindus. It has become the most polluted river in the world. It is time that we Indians take a note of it and do all the needful to re establish Ganga as the most sacred and pure river in the world. The Government must wake up and save this lifeline of India.

  7. Sadie

    Im doing research for school on this topic since i live in India and i think that this is a reallly bad situation and poeple are not taking care of it because they think of it as their nectar of god. If you have any information please send it to me. :)

  8. Samridhi Dalmia

    this site has helped me alot thanks.

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