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Ganga, Tera paani amrit !!

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    Ganga, Tera paani amrit !!

    Ganges Brings Disease, Pollution
    Sun May 5,12:02 PM ET
    By PRAJNAN BHATTACHARYA, Associated Press Writer

    VARANASI, India (AP) - For Vir Bhadra Mishra, the day is not complete without a dip in what he considers the holy waters of the Ganges, although he knows he risks his health by immersing himself in India's most polluted river.

    Like Mishra, thousands of Hindus in Varanasi, the heartland of the Hindu religion, take a bath or dip every day in the belief that it will undo the sins they have committed.

    What they are willing to overlook is the billions of gallons of sewage that pours into the Ganges as the river flows from the Himalayas in northern India to the Bay of Bengal in the east, a distance of more than 1,600 miles.

    The river is considered holy because, according to Hindu mythology, Ganges is the mother goddess of India, and water from the river can be offered in prayers to other deities.

    Nonetheless, perhaps 40 percent to 45 percent of the people who take a dip in the river regularly have skin or stomach ailments, according to doctors and state government health officials.

    "There has been an alarming increase in skin infections and waterborne diseases in this area," said Dr. B.P. Tiwari at the Sanjeevan Hospital in Varanasi.

    Many people who become ill deny the cause is the Ganges water, insisting that its holiness makes it pure.

    Mishra, a hydraulic engineering expert, developed skin and stomach ailments a few times, and now restricts himself to just taking a dip in the river, instead of bathing and sipping. The "holy dip" means the devotee sips some of the almost black water.

    "I know how damaging is fecal coliform and oxygenic waste," Mishra said of the pollutants in the river.

    Varanasi, a city of 1.5 million people, pumps 80 million gallons of sewage waste daily into the river. Most sewage pipes open up at the same riverbank points that the Hindu devotees use to perform their religious rites.

    Along the riverbank, some people wash clothes. Others toss in the ashes of dead relatives. Some Hindus dump dead bodies into the river, despite a ban on such practices.

    A decade ago the government began a plan to clean the river, but environmental activists say it has failed to curb pollution.

    Water treatment plants were set up to process sewage in Varanasi, but these plants are either faulty or do not have enough capacity. Their malfunctioning has actually added to the pollution, said Shanti Lal Jain, a social worker who cleans the pavements along the riverbanks.

    Mishra also believes the government plan is too limited. "Simple water treatment cannot purify the fecal coliform in the polluted water," he said.

    Mishra's group, Friends of Ganges, and other local and national environmentalists have worked through the High Court of the state of Uttar Pradesh and India's Supreme Court to pressure the federal government to approve a project called Clean Ganges. It would take court action to stop the practices that add pollution to the river.

    But court orders are not always speedily obeyed in India. Appeals and other delays can drag things out for years.

    The government also hasn't done much to clear silt brought in by floodwaters.

    The river is normally anywhere from 16 feet to 65 feet deep and as narrow as 275 yards or as wide as 385 yards in places. But the silt has reduced the depth and width of the river, cutting down its ability to flush the waste out to sea.

    Recently, a small island appeared in the middle of the river for the first time in its recorded history. In some parts, the river has receded up to half a mile, leaving sewage drying along the banks.

    This has posed a serious threat to villages outside Varanasi which earn their livelihood from fishing and farming along the Ganges.

    "Our economy is shattered. We are suffering from all kinds of diseases," says Ram Shanker Das of Kamauli village, where hand pumps bring up black water.


    They should consider putting Chlorine into the water!!!!

    That should do the trick!


      Another attempt of Faith overcomes all bites the dust!! Facts are Facts, and they cannot be wished away with faith or miracles.