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Indian River’s Pollution Claims More Lives Than Bomb Blasts

Indian River’s Pollution Claims More Lives Than Bomb Blasts

Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) – 18th August, 2011

Indian river ‘Ganga’ claiming more lives than those caused by bomb blasts, said L K Advani expressing concerns over the increasing level of pollution in the river Ganga.

In his latest blog posting, Advani,the leader of the Bhartiya Janata Party, quoted Swami Chidananda Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, to argue that the pollution in Ganga was a serious matter.

“Today most people do not realize that nearly a million people living along the banks of the Ganga die each year due to illnesses caused by its polluted water,” PTI reported. “A few dozen people dying in bomb blasts in India becomes big news worldwide, and rightly so. But the tragic deaths of many people, who are dependent on the Ganga, goes unnoticed even in India. We must change this,” he said, quoting Swami Chidanand.

“Ganga is languishing in such polluted state that people hesitate to bathe in her waters even in Kashi. This is caused by reckless and ill-planned industrialisation and urbanization, made worse by lack of elementary civic facilities in towns and villages along it,’ Advani said.

In the upper reaches of the river, hydro-electric projects have caused considerable damage to the Ganga and its natural ecology, leading to drying up of long stretches of the river-bed and depriving the nearby villagers of their main source of water, he said.

Suggesting measures to clean theriver, the BJP leader quoted Swami Chidanand, ‘We must launch a mission, whichI call the 3-T Mission toilet in every home, tap in every home bringing cleanwater, and tree-plantation on a massive scale in every village and town.’

‘Millions of Indians abroad would be inspired if India takes up this comprehensive Ganga Mission. They would even be willing to make generous contribution to this project,’ Advani said on his blog, quoting Swami Chidanand.

The Ganga suffers from extreme pollution levels, which affect the 400 million people who live close to the river. Sewage from many cities along the river’s course, industrial waste and religious offerings wrapped in non-degradable plastics add large amounts of pollutants to the river as it flows through densely populated areas. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many poorer people rely on the river on a daily basis for bathing, washing, and cooking. The World Bank estimates that the health costs of water pollution in India equal three per cent of India’s GDP. It has also been suggested that eighty per cent of all illnesses in India and one-third of deaths can be attributed to water-borne diseases.

The Ganga is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal By discharge it ranks among the world’s top 20 rivers.

The Ganges basin is the most heavily populated river basin in the world, with over 400 million people and a population density of about 1,000 inhabitants per square mile (390 /km2).

It is the most sacred river to Hindus and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. It is worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism.