The Ganga, the most sacred and worshipped river of the Hindus, is now one of the most polluted rivers of the country. The sanctity of the river has not saved it from the heavy pollution wafting throughout the country. Flowing through 2500km and spanning through 4 cities ,the sacred Ganga Nadi (river) is burdened with domestic, industrial, human and animal waste. With the damage caused over a longitude of decades and the reversal only beginning a decade ago, the mission to clean this holy water body is a herculean task.
Ranked the most densely populated river basin in the world, the Ganges has a demographic population of 400 million people living at its banks and these are only the permanent residents, not tourists. Every year lakhs and thousands of people visit the Gagna to take ritual baths in the holy water, follow the belief that the waters of this river will wash away their sins. People throw ashes of the deceased and even put animal carcasses into the water.
One of the major concerns many activists and environmentalists have is that this majestic river will eventually stop having a continuous flow. With the construction of dams and bridges and more settlements at the banks of the river, the speed of flow has been on the decrease over the years.With the sewage and domestic waste of all inhabitants taking a final stop in the waters of Ganga, there is little left to imagine in regards to the immense degradation of the water.
Under the regime of the present Prime Minister, Narendra Modi began the National Mission for Clean Ganga better known as the NMCG with a funding of over 20000 crores, but in spite of many plans being laid out the execution of the same has been slow.
The Ganga action plan proposed to put sewage treatment plants and bring in private sector companies to help with proper equipment and infrastructure and also to aid in devising proper strategies. The original project that began in 2014 changed course many times over the years and was under the constant scrutiny of many, and has received extensive criticism due to the slow progress it has made since in spite of the money of the fund being spent. In a recent announcement, members of the commission claimed that the deadline has now shifted from 2019 to 2020.
In spite of the delays in execution, the project has helped establish some much-needed laws. There is now a ban on disposing of e-waste, bio-chemical waste or any form of industrial waste. Many areas close to the banks are now free of any domestic or industrial settlements, with there even being a ban on construction of tanneries near the river Ganga. While there is no law stopping the disposal of various offerings during religious rituals, many activist groups have been spreading awareness to reduce this as well.
If everyone comes together to rescue this holy water body, the Ganga shall once again return to its original splendor!
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