River Ganga one of the 10 most endangered rivers of the world



In a few days time, Hindus will be observing Ganga Saptami, the day Ganga descended on earth, but the most revered river in the world, Ganga, has been enlisted on the list of 10 most endangered rivers of the world. The sand bed in the Ganga is increasing slowly and the increase is clearly distinguishable each year. A recent study of American scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) suggests that there is a reduced flow in Ganga. Two years back a study by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had also indicated that Ganga might not reach the ocean in the distant future.

Binay Singh Writes in the Times of India

"The increasing sand bed, which defines the ecosystem, is an indicator of the gloomy future of the Ganga," predicted Uday Kant Chowdhary, a professor of civil engineering and coordinator of Ganga Research Laboratory, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU). According to him, sand bed in the Ganga is increasing five-six metre in width and 8-10cm in height annually. "It means the width of the river is reducing in proportion to the increase in sand bed," Chowdhary told TOI.

"The increasing sand bed, which defines the ecosystem, is an indicator of the gloomy future of the Ganga," predicted Uday Kant Chowdhary, a professor of civil engineering and coordinator of Ganga Research Laboratory, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU). According to him, sand bed in the Ganga is increasing five-six metre in width and 8-10cm in height annually. "It means the width of the river is reducing in proportion to the increase in sand bed," Chowdhary told TOI.

According to him, factors like increasing pollution, over-extraction of water and reduced flow of the Ganga are causing slow death to the river. The unscientific extraction of river water through Bhimgauda Barrage to Western Ganga Canal is harming the river badly. The capacity of this barrage has been enhanced from 6,000 cubic feet per second to 9,000 cubic-ft per second, he said adding: "People in Delhi are drinking Gangajal (Ganga water) while the natives of the cities like Varanasi are using polluted water."

He said since the holy water was diverted towards Delhi in huge quantity, the velocity of the stream was reduced drastically on the Gangetic Plane. "The loss in quantity ultimately causes loss to the quality of the river water," he said. Besides, due to the increase in total dissolved solid (TDS) in water stored in reservoirs, the water loses its dissolved oxygen (DO) retention capacity. "The quantity and quality are interrelated," he pointed out.

Besides the reduced flow, increasing pollution load is also causing great harm to the river. The increase in pollution load in river water decreases its dilution factor. The dilution factor of the Ganga used to be 1,200-1,400 in Varanasi seven-eight years ago. "But, today it is not more than 700-800," said Chowdhary. Holding poor planning responsible for the deteriorating condition of the Ganga, he said in the existing system, only 100 MLD sewage was treated while the daily discharge was over 250 MLD.

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