Economy vs. Ecology: That is the Question

· The Indian government has spent close to $140 million in cleaning the Ganges, but environmentalists say there has been no significant improvement in the quality of the water in the river

· Indian officials in charge of the Ganges cleanup said the Dutch aid would help complete the cleansing of the Ganges to a point where the pollution would become negligible.

· Meanwhile treatment plants have been set up to ensure industrial waste goes into the river only after being treated.

· One plant with the capacity to treat 5 million liters of water daily is functioning while another with a capacity to treat 36 million liters will become operational soon

· Like India, China's problems with water pollution are very serious in endangering the lives of its citizens. About one fifth of the rivers in China are polluted to some extent. Though China is a water deficient country, many Chinese believe that their water supply is inexhaustible. One thing that has been polluted is China's Grand Canal. The Grand Canal has been described as the world's longest man-made waterway. It was polluted when a chemical spill from two paper mills dumped industrial waste in the canal. 

        There have been many cleanup acts, such as the GAP act (Ganges Action Plan) and the Oswald Plan. The GAP act began in 1985. It was meant to clean up India’s most important river but after twelve years of work and $300 million in funding, the GAP has achieved few of its objectives. A recent study has proved that the amount of sewage flowing in the Ganges has doubled since 1985, while a government audit found evidence of widespread corruption in siphoning off money earmarked for the project.

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