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India's Dirty Water

Updated on February 14, 2010

 Revered by the Hindu religion as an iconic Goddess, these so called sacred waters of the Ganges River is a medical nightmare just waiting to happen. The river, which runs 1560 miles is India's major lifeline. A lifeline than is renowned for its beauty and filth and pollution. The river is intensely polluted and the millions that seek its purity are only fooling themselves, it will not clean your sins away but most likely cause serious infections to any open wound. The Goddess of all rivers has the opposite effect.

India's rapid growth is a good and bad thing. A shortage of funds has allowed 70% of India's cities to dump their municipal raw sewage into the river. Only 30% of the cities treat the water before it is dumped. However, India has embarked on a new bold plan to ensure that by 2020 no untreated sewage enters the Ganges by spending $4 billion dollars.

The Ganges could be called the Satanic Waterway because more than 500,000 people of the 10 million deaths in India from waterborne diseases attributed to pollution. The river itself supports 400 million people, mostly Hindu and consider the iconic river a "Goddess" to cleanse one's sins. The filth of the Ganges is obvious in the scientific world. Recent tests conducted at Tulsi Ghat, one of India's holiest cities, was conducted at the city's bathing sites (84 of them).  In just 100mm of water, 29000 fecal coliform bacteria were found. That is enough to cause disease. The safety limits are only 500 fecal coliform bacteria per 100mm. Worse, another sample further downstream found 10,000,000 bacteria in 100mm of water, mostly E-coli.

India's government is working with a California firm in Berkeley to create the waste water technology to treat 10 million gallons of sewage daily. It is a good thing India has finally decided to address the issue because those "who are in the know" there clearly state the river is in a very serious polluted condition the further downstream tests are conducted.

The Ganges is a Goddess in disguise. 


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Why would that matter?

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      deshawn 5 years ago

      i am wondering what ur full name is

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      Dirty water yo 5 years ago

      this is no good for 12 year olds that might being researching it about

    • alisha4u profile image

      alisha4u 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      It's true that Ganges River had lost its glory many years back, owing to the fact that people use it more often to dump the waste... However, The River is still considered to be Holy and it shall be, no matter what..

      Good to know that Indian Govt is finally set to take some serious steps to clean up the dirt...

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      Aryaman Kunzru 6 years ago

      Hey Dhiren! You have a written a really nice article about a very important and relevant issue in our home country, India.

      Having seen people spit, litter and just ruin the streets and cities of India, I can’t agree more with your evidence and your opinion. Whenever I visit India in the summers or winters, I can’t help but to notice the filth all over. There will be people spitting paan, people throwing ghajak wrappesr(a very sticky Indian sweet) , candy wrappers, left-overs and even some cow dung. A very sad thing I’ve noticed is that nobody seems to care. They are happy with the way things are. People are just failing to understand the severe consequences that can ruin our environment.

      I think the Indian Government is also doing too little too late. The Indian Government should have cleaned up all the rivers, streets and cities a long time ago. That not only would have prevented many people from getting sick, but it would have also improved our reputation and removed the tag of “The Dirty Country”

      To me, the third paragraph of your article “India’s Dirty Water” has a lot of important information such as the fact that about 500,000 have died due to waterborne diseases. This really shows how dangerous the Gangas actually are.

      I think the Indian Government is doing a smart thing by cleaning up the Ganga River though. Every year on Diwali or on Ghanesh Ji’s birthday (an Indian god), millions of people jump in the river to get “cleansed of their sins”. This is a silly thing to do because as mentioned in the article, open wounds can get easily infected. Also, a high percentage of those who jump into the river get sick because of all the bacteria and pollution.

      A key factor that effects India’s sanity is the fact a lot of people in India are uneducated and therefore do not understand why it is important to keep themselves and their country clean. Without a proper education they, wouldn’t get a proper job. Individuals in that situation will never be able to have enough patience, money or time to care for the environment because everyday will be a struggle to earn money and have food on the dinner table.

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article Dhiren!



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      Me 6 years ago

      I am awesome