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Pollution of the Ganges River in India (Essay Sample)


The essay provided discussion of the pollution in Ganga river in India. More so, it discussed strategies that can be adopted to minimize the pollution.

Pollution of the Ganges River in India
For centuries, the Ganga River ( Ganges) in India all along was the sacred rites locus for the Hindus people. The religious importance of the Ganges is manifested physically in Ghats that are forming the land-water interface. However, apart from serving as a religious site for cremation and bathing, the ghats are tied to livelihoods of people and are also an inseparable part of their routine lives.Currently, the increasing urbanization along the Ganges basin is sustaining more than 40 % of the India’s population. At the same time, population pressure and industrialization along Ganga banks have contributed an increasingly alarming pollution in the river (Das and Tamminga 1667). The methodology that waas used in writing the paper was through reviewing of a secondary source of information that included journals and reports.
The river Ganges has been the civilization cradle in the plains of Indo-Gangetic in northern India several years. Today, it is sustaining 43% of the India’s population. The Ganga is among heavily populated regions globally with an average of 520 persons per kilometer square (Sharma). However, the river is the only vital resource for industry and agriculture and as well holds an iconic status of India cultural heritage. However, the relentless push of modernizing was accompanied by the urbanization, massive industry expansion, and population pressure growth. In due course, the invaluable resource was drastically reduced into a convenient ways of waste disposal. Sewage from the municipal is a major culprit and closely followed by the effluents from the industry as well as agricultural run-off. It is important to note that the river is a site for religious washing, bathing, as well as watering of animals, and the disposal of animal and human corpses (Das and Tamminga 1667). The paper, therefore, discusses the issue of river Ganges pollution in India and also providing solutions to the problem.
Pollution of the River
"The challenge of pollution remains grim (Narain 5)”. The levels of Fecal coliform in the mainstream of the Ganges that is some 2,500 km from the Gangotri up to Diamond Harbour are still above the acceptable standards in all the stretches other than the upper reaches of the river. However, what is more worrying is that in these reaches, the fecal coliform levels are rapidly increasing in places for example Devprayag and Rudraprayag, and this suggest that there are inadequate flows for dilution in the highly oxygenated stretches.
The levels of pollution are a major cause of worry in the hotspots that include the fast growing and mega cities that are along the river. The level of pollution are higher downstream of Kannauj, Haridwar, Kanpur and peak at the Varanasi (Hamner, 128). The most worrying thing is that in almost all the stretches, pollution is becoming even worse. However, it is not surprising provided that all along the stretch that is heavily populated, the freshwater intake from the Ganges river is going up. In this means, water is drawn for industry, agriculture, and cities but the returning is a waste. Funds have been spent in the creation of infrastructure, with little attention paid to the application and efficacy of this infrastructure. With all this having to be done, the cities authorities still lose the battle with the amount of this hardware that is yet to be constructed to convey the sewage, to treat and dispose it (Hamner, 125).
Ecological flow and the Dilution
Naturally, rivers have an ability of self-cleansing that allows for treatment and assimilation of the biological waste. But in the existing context, where withdrawing from the river is higher than discharging of waste, it is clear that pollution is inevitable. However, in the upper side of the Ganges river, where the oxygenating abilities of Ganga are the higher, there are signs of extreme water contamination. Therefore, withdrawal of water for the hydroelectricity is endangering the Ganges river. When the river reaches the plains, the drinking water, and irrigation water withdrawal peaks. The Ganges stretch from Rishikesh all the way to Allahabad, has no water in summer and winter months. As a result, the river stops to flow and at this time the river then turns into a sewer and receives waste (Hosterman, 70)
Domestic Sewage
Domestic sewage is the main cause of water contamination in the Ganges. It is estimated that 2,723 million litre a day (MLD) of sewage is being generated by close to 50 cities that are located along the river that is adding up to 85 % of the pollution load in the river. The main problem originates from the key cities on the Ganga. However, the 36 Class I cities are contributing 96 % of the generation of the wastewater. Furthermore, 99% of the treatment capacity are installed in these main cities. But the challenge is that focusing on treatment plants have taken away the attention from cleaning the Ganga river (Narain 15).
Ineffectiveness of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs)
The majority of cities that are along the Ganges do not have systems of sewage conveyance. For instance, in Allahabad, Kanpur, and Varanasi, 85 per cent of the cities do not have a functioning underground drainage system. Because of these, drainages are not connected to Sewage Training Plants. What is existing on the ground are only open drains that get into the river. In Allahabad, drains are flowing into the river. However, the challenge is that the untreated effluent is adding to the pollution load by contaminating the groundwater. Therefore, cities need to address the underlying challenges of lacking connectivity to a sewage system. This is not done, and estimates are prepared that suggests that cities that include both the old and as well congested would lay the underground sewage in order to intercept waste before it gets into the river. However, experience shows that constructing a full system that is connected across the city has never happen. The Sewage Treatment Plant is first constructed, but the drains that are meant to intercept the sewage is not completed, and pollution of the river continues (Hamner, 130).
Solution for Ganga Pollution in India
Accepting that cleaning river Ganges in India, where the pollution control treatment cost is unmanageable and unaffordable, the water availability for dilution would be critical. The standards that are available for the acceptable quality of water provides for a dilution factor of 10. The fact is that provided the huge unmet problem of the wastewater treatment, the cost of minimizing standards would be unaffordable.Therefore, what is needed is a provision of water inflow and building of the assimilative capacity in Ganges for self-cleansing the waste.
It is important to state that rivers that do not have water are just drains. It is also true that the release of additional unnecessary water can deprive farmers upstream of irrigation; industries and cities of water. The water for the ecological flow becomes contested. However, this flow needs to be mandated in order to come from the central government allocation of riparian water. The state government, therefore, has a choice of building storage in order to collect water from monsoon for dilution within its territory or releasing water to rivers and make alternatives for use in agriculture, industry or drinking.
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