Problems of the Ganges River



           Since the 1950s, population and industry along the Ganges and Hugli rivers have grown dramatically and both municipal and industrial wastewater and sewage have been discharged in large quantities into the rivers. In addition, because of the religious significance of the Ganges, Hindus often cremate their dead on the riverís banks and throw the remains and burnt charcoal into the river. This practice is especially common at Vârânasi. All of these factors have so polluted the river that drinking and bathing in its water have become dangerous. 


The major polluting industries on the Ganga are the leather industries, especially near Kanpur, which use large amounts of Chromium and other chemicals, and much of it finds its way into the meager flow of the Ganga. Unfortunately, this is a boom time for leather processing in India, which many view as a form of eco-environmental dumping on the third world, and with the lax and lubricable implementation systems of the U.P. Government, it does not seem likely that this will go down. The world bank report 1992, which focussed on the environmental issues, mentions the dissolved-oxygen and riverborne decomposing material at two points on the Ganga. 

            However, industry is not the only source of pollution. Sheer volume of waste - estimated at nearly 1 billion litres per day - of mostly untreated raw sewage - is a significant factor. Also, inadequate cremation procedures contributes to a large number of partially burnt or unburnt corpses floating down the Ganga, not to mention livestock corpses.


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