Pollution in India's holy Ganges makes it toxic

The Ganges river, holy to most Indians, flows from the western Himalayas down to the Bay of Bengal through crowded cities, industrial hubs and some of the most populated areas in the world

Pollution in India's holy Ganges makes it toxic
A Hindu devotee carries water from the river Ganges in Kolkata, India - Photo: Danish Siddiqui/REUTERS
English 18/01/2019 19:21 Reuters New Delhi Actualizada 19:21
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The Ganges river, holy to most Indians, flows from the western Himalayas down to the Bay of Bengal through crowded cities, industrial hubs and some of the most populated areas in the world.

The river begins as pristine, clear waters in the icy heights of the tallest mountain range in the world. But pollution, untreated sewage, and used by hundreds of millions of people transform parts of it into toxic sludge by the time it reaches the sea, about 2,525 kilometers downstream.

Personified by Hindus as the goddess Ganga, the river is the site of thousands of cremations and ash scatterings every day. The Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a nearly $3 billion five-year plan to clean up the river by 2020, but Reuters found last year that only a tenth of the funds had been used in the first two years of the project.

The government maintains it is on track to clean up the river.

Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said last month that the Ganges will be 70% to 80 % clean within three months and 100% clean by March 2020. He did not give details on how the government had arrived at the figures and did not respond to requests for further comment.

sg

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