The Ganga Cleanup, Exploring the Barriers We Face in Reviving its Glory

“Mother Ganga is not just a waterway, it is a sacred pathway.”

Flowing through the heart of India like a lifeline of culture and spirituality, the Ganga holds a special place that tugs at the soul of every Indian. From its origins in the pristine Himalayas to its gentle flow through the plains, the Ganga is not just a river; it’s a reflection of our nation’s history, beliefs, and collective spirit. Imagine standing on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi during the break of dawn, as the first rays of sunlight paint the waters with a golden hue. The air is filled with a sense of serenity, as the river whispers tales of centuries gone by. It’s in these moments that Ganga’s significance truly dawns upon us. For generations, it has been more than a source of water; it’s a source of life itself!

The Ganga isn’t just a river; it’s a revered deity. In the Indian psyche, it’s believed that the Ganga’s waters possess the power to cleanse not just the body, but also the soul. Pilgrims from across the nation come to its banks to seek solace, immerse themselves in its sacred waters, and offer their prayers. It’s as if the Ganga carries the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of millions in its gentle currents. The river’s importance goes far beyond its spiritual significance. The Ganga played a pivotal role in shaping the course of Indian civilization. Its fertile banks have cradled some of the oldest and most prosperous cities in the subcontinent like Varanasi, the spiritual heart of India.

Yet, the Ganga faces challenges that echo the struggles of our times. Pollution, industrial waste, and urbanization have cast a shadow on its once-pristine waters. Despite various efforts and measures, Ganga’s battle for rejuvenation continues. As we navigate the complexities of modernity, it’s imperative that we safeguard Ganga’s sanctity. It’s a responsibility we owe to the generations that preceded us and those that will follow. Preserving the Ganga isn’t just an environmental mission; it’s a testament to our commitment to our roots, our values, and our heritage.

The Sad Story of Polluted Ganga

Ganga flows through a basin covering 26% of the country’s land and supporting 43% of the country’s population. It courses through 11 states, with Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and West Bengal lying along its main stem. Unfortunately, much of the river’s pollution, from chemical waste to sewage and more, originate from these states. Around 12,000 million liters per day of sewage is generated in the Ganga basin, but the treatment capacity stands at just 4,000 million liters per day. Despite multiple collective initiatives and government-funded programs set up for Ganga’s revival over the course of many decades, nothing seems to be working out. So, let’s explore why!

Challenges Encountered in the Restoration of Holy Ganga

  1. For many industries that dump their industrial waste in the rivers, implementing an Online Continuous Emission/Effluent Monitoring System (OCEMS) comes with significant financial along with additional operational expenses. This potentially results in increased production costs, which in turn affects their competitive edge in the market. This is why many industries often opt to keep things unchanged, leading to the discharge of industrial waste without proper treatment.
  1. The Ganga also has the natural ability to address its organic pollutants if its flow remains consistent. Unfortunately, the growing impact of droughts and global warming has significantly affected its flow, posing a concerning challenge to the river’s restoration efforts. 
  1. Another concerning issue involves the disposal of bodies in the Ganga instead of proper cremation or burial, further contributing to pollution. Despite a High Court order against such practices and the government providing funds for unidentified body cremations, bodies are still recovered from the river every month. An extensive plan to build and modernize over 100 crematoriums along the Ganga is in the works to address this issue.
  1. The pace at which Sewage Treatment Plants are being set up isn’t keeping up with the waste generation. It usually takes around one and a half years for them to reach their full operational capacity. As a result, a significant portion of waste is released without proper treatment, leading to the distressing pollution of our sacred Ganga.
  1. Additionally, given the challenges many Indian cities face due to inadequately maintained wastewater treatment systems, many researchers are exploring alternatives like “green filters” for wastewater treatment. One approach includes channeling wastewater into purposely designed wetlands, allowing nature’s filtration and absorption processes to eliminate pollutants. Another technique involves employing extensive sand areas to filter the water before it enters the river.

Witnessing the challenges encountered by our revered Ganga has inspired Mrs. Priya Barath to develop the Happy Ganga Floor Cleaner and Dish Wash Liquid. This innovative product blends the power of probiotic bacteria to craft an exceptional natural cleaning solution for households. By choosing Happy Ganga, you’re not only ensuring a chemical-free environment within your home but also participating in the cleansing of drains and rivers with the probiotic-charged water flowing out after its household use. Happy Ganga embraces the heartfelt duty of revitalizing our rivers, embodying a sense of responsibility and care for our precious rivers.