Pandemic rejuvenates India’s holy river Ganga

By Sudeep Sonawane & Dr Radhika Nagrath
Haridwar and Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
November 1, 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown have cleaned India’s toxically polluted Ganga River. They have done what civil societies, state and federal governments’ several environmental projects and public money, running into billions of rupees, failed to do for decades.
The largest of India’s 12 major river basins, the Ganga basin covers a land area of 861,404 square kilometres. Over 2,700 kms long, the Ganga traverses through 11 Indian states. The federal government’s year 2001 survey shows Ganga supports 43 per cent of India’s population.
People living in these 11 states and tourists visiting temples and other sites near the river have dumped garbage into it for decades. Industrial waste and sewage discharge further pollute the Ganga — the holiest of all rivers for Hindus.
Civil society leaders, Haridwar residents and experts say, absence of hawkers, tourists, little business, and no industrial work has stopped the free flow of pollutants and rubbish into Ganga River. The several Ganga projects did not contribute to this change because most remain incomplete.

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Article length: 1,565 words. Feature includes two photographs and an infographic.