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People taking a ritual bath in the river Ganga.

Poor sewage: Major reason for depleting water quality at Ganga

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The pollution at Ganga has always been an issue but the urgency to deal with it has never been this greater. Poor sewage treatment is becoming the major cause of water pollution at the holy river Ganga.

The river Ganga has high spiritual significance, especially to the Hindu religion. But with the passing years, this holy river has been suffering severe hardships because of destructive human activities.

Ganga river serves life to millions of people living around it. It not only provides water to these people but also food and transport.

According to recent studies, this river has been getting even more polluted with each passing day. Experts say that approximately 12,000 million liters (1200 crores liters) sewage is generated per day in Ganga.

The source of this waste is majorly the urban population as the number of people living in urban areas is far more than that in rural areas. But as we move deep into the study we find that most of this urban population has proper sewage disposal methods adopted at their personal levels.

The problem lies in the treatment of this sewage waste. Such waste is pumped into the rivers untreated.

Whereas, in rural areas, most of the people defecate in open and hence there is no chance of such waste happening to move into rivers.

The fecal coliforms found in human feces is the major polluter. The increase in this is a direct effect of an increase in population.

The Ganga is home one of the biggest festivals of India, Kumbh. Over 120 million (12 crores) people visit this holy river to wash their sins in 49 days of this festival which means the pollution happens to increase during these days.

Depicting the importance of the holy river in this country of cultures, Dr. Vandana Shivaji once said, “If Ganga lives, India lives. If Ganga dies, India dies.”

This is not the first time that the issue of sewage waste being pumped into rivers is brought into the light. The issue had been touched before several times. In 2017, the government had decided to use “sewage-eating” microbes at 54 sites to control the rise of sewage waste at these places.

Due to this unstoppable increase in pollution at Ganga, the need to tackle this problem at a wider level increases. New methods like off-grid toilets or decentralized treatment plants may be used to deal with this problem.

The government of India should allocate more funds to the pollution control sector. Also, the people should be more aware and informed of the consequences of improper waste disposal systems.

The 3R rule i.e Reduce, Reuse, Recycle can be applied at an individual level to take control over pollution.

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