River Ganges And Its Journey From Being Sacred To Losing Its Sanctity

The river Ganges is one of the foremost sacred places in all of India. Stretching from high within the Himalayas down into the Bay of Bengal, the Ganges provides water for over 500 million people while being ranked fifth as the foremost polluted river in the world.

Not only does the river supply water for half a billion people, but it is also used and relied on for spiritual purposes. Hindus everywhere in India cleanse themselves and drink out of the Ganges’ water.

However, taking baths and drinking aren’t the sole things the Ganges provides for. Animal waste, industrial waste, sewage, and human remains flow all throughout the river, causing the Ganges to become more and more polluted each day.

Ganga Pollution

The Ganges River is now plagued with deadly bacteria that may resist some varieties of antibiotics. Many pathogenic bacteria, like Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio, Enterobacter, and Escherichia, are thriving in large quantities along the river.

The Ganges is so polluted that it’s been compared to diluted sewage with its large amounts of waste and bacteria free-floating in its water. because of the massive amounts of bacteria being present, micro-organisms that kill bacteria, called bacteriophages, are found in large numbers within the water.

In keeping with a Harvard study, bacteriophages are ready to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute states that the Ganges contains around 1,100 styles of bacteriophages. within the Ganges, there are thrice more bacteriophages than bacteria.

Although it doesn’t solve the Ganges’ pollution crisis, having many bacteriophages will eventually purify the water of most sorts of bacteria over a few years.

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The Ganges River, even with the bacteriophages, remains incredibly polluted with waste from factories and houses. Nevertheless, the Indian government has issued many clean-ups of the Ganges and has taken measures to stop the holy river from getting to any extent further polluted for the security of the Indian people.

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No matter what quantity the govt. cleans up the river, the pollution never seems to dissipate. thanks to many spiritual traditions, like bathing and cremation, the river constantly has more and more waste dropped into it.

As many as 40 thousand cremations occur each year within the Ganges; many families cannot afford enough wood to completely cremate the bodies which cause the bodies to only be half-burnt when floating down the river.

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Although $3 billion of funds are allocated to cleaning up the Ganges, the numerous thousands of Indians using the river a day kept making the clean-ups obsolete; that’s until the Coronavirus forced many Indian people into lockdown. Since the Coronavirus has killed 407 thousand people as of July 11th, the Indian people are forced inside their homes to limit the spread, successively making the Ganges less used.

Because of many cremations being on land and lots of people unable to wash within the Ganges, the pollution is very cheap. Additionally, 10% of the pollution within the Ganges is from industries, and with many industries being closed the water has become clear and far purer. Consequentially, the encircling areas alongside the Ganges became much healthier.

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As far as the Indian government’s clean-up initiatives of the Ganges River is concerned, they usually don’t work well, however, through the determination of the Indian people to revive their holy river to its former glory, there’s hope for the Ganges to become clear and pure again.