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Environmental Issues Of Ganga River

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 5421 words Published: 18th May 2017

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Rapidly increasing population, rising standards of living and exponential growth of industrialization and urbanization have exposed the water resources, in general, and rivers, in particular, to various forms of degradation. Many Indian rivers, including the Ganga in several stretches, particularly during lean flows, have become unfit even for bathing. Realizing that the rivers of the country were in a serious state of degradation, a beginning towards their restoration was made with the launching of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in 1985.

It was envisaged as a comprehensive programme of river conservation with the objective of improving the water quality. It was visualized that in due course, the programme would be enlarged to cover other major rivers of the country.

In order to prepare such a major programme, an exhaustive study of the Ganga Basin arrived by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The study covered all aspects of rivers in the Ganga basin including water quality. The study pointed out that besides pollution from municipal and industrial wastes, non-point sources like run off from rural settlements, pesticides from agricultural fields, open defecation, dumping of carcasses significantly contribute to pollution of the river and render the water unsuitable for its intended use.

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Equally important is the issue of flow in the River. Dams and barrages for storing and diverting water for irrigation, domestic consumption and industry, affect the flow, particularly during dry months. This has serious implications for water quality and aquatic life in the river. The Ganga Action Plan Phase I (GAP I) was started in 1985 to improve the water quality of river Ganga to acceptable standards by preventing the pollution load reaching the river.


Ganga drains a basin of extraordinary variation in altitude, climate, land use and cropping pattern. Ganga has been a cradle of human civilization since time immemorial. It is one of the most sacred rivers in the world and is deeply revered by the people of this country. India has 12 river basins, and 14 minor and desert river basins. Ganga river basin is the largest of these.

The Ganga basin lies between East longitudes 73°30 and 89° 0 and North latitudes of 22°30 and 31°30, covering an area of 1,086,000 sq km, extending over India, Nepal and Bangladesh. It has a catchment area of 8,61,404 sq. km in India, constituting 26% of the country’s land mass and supporting about 43% of population (448.3 million as per 2001 census).

Ganga has many tributaries, both in the Himalayan region before it enters the plains at Haridwar and further downstream before its confluence with the Bay of Bengal. -May are the lean flow

Months. The surface water resource Ganga has been assessed as 525 billion cubic

Meters (BCM). Substantial abstraction of water for various purposes including irrigation, power

Generation and drinking water has impacted the quantity of flows in the river.

Some General Information about Ganga [1] :

Here are a few basic facts about the Ganga River. This information will help you understand the Ganges at a glance.

Total Length of River Ganges

2,510 Kms (1,560 miles)

Average depth of Ganga River

52 Feet (maximum depth, 100 feet)

Place of Origin of Ganga River

Foot of Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh, at an elevation of 3,892 m

Area drained by Ganges River (Ganges Plains)

1,000,000 Square Kilometres

Major Tributaries of Ganges

Yamuna, Son, Kosi, Gandak, Gomati, Ghaghara, Bhagirathi etc…

Cities on the bank of Ganges

Kanpur, Soron, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur, Mirzapur, Buxar, Saidpur etc…

The entire stretch of river Ganga (main stem) can be viewed into three segments:

A. Upper Ganga ≈ 294 km Gaumukh to Haridwar

B. Middle Ganga ≈ 1082 km Haridwar to Varanasi

C. Lower Ganga ≈ 1134 km Varanasi to Ganga Sagar


There are many cities which are situated on the bank of river Ganga. Focusing on the state of Uttaranchal and the cities like Haridwar and Rishikesh which are prone to pollution due to the pilgrimage.

Uttaranchal became the 27th state of India on November 9, 2000. It borders Tibet in the north-east and Nepal to the south-east, while its neighboring states are Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Uttaranchal is a region of outstanding natural beauty. The high Himalayan ranges and glaciers cover most of the northern parts of the state, while the lower reaches are densely forested. The unique Himalayan ecosystem plays host to a large number of animals (including bharal, snow leopards, leopards and tigers), plants and rare herbs. Two of India’s mightiest rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna take birth in the glaciers of Uttaranchal, and are fed by innumerable lakes, glacial melts and streams in the region. The tourism industry is a major contributor to the economy of Uttaranchal, with the Raj era hill-stations at Mussorie, Almora, Ranikhet and Nainital being some of the most frequented destinations. To this region also belong some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for almost 2000 years now pilgrims have been visiting the temples at Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath in the hope of salvation and purification from sin. Recent developments in the region include initiatives by the state government to capitalize on the burgeoning visitor trade. The state also plays host to some of the worst conceived bigdam projects in India such as the monstrously large Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi-Bhilangana Rivers [2] .


Ancient Haridwar (the Gateway to God) is one of the seven holiest places in India, and one of the oldest living cities. For Hindus, a visit to Haridwar is believed to provide liberation from the endless cycle of death and rebirth. Haridwar’s main attractions are its temples (particularly Mansa Devi temple, where the wish fulfilling goddess resides), ghats (steps leading down to the river), and Ganges River. People take a holy dip and cleanse their sins. Haridwar district, covering an area of about 2360 Km with a population of 14, 44, 213, is in the western part of Uttarakhand state of India and extends from latitude 29 58′ in the north to longitude 78 13′ in the east with subtropical climate. It receives millions of tourists in every month, sometimes just in one day, which increases the number of automobiles of various categories up to 120 % per day


Rishikesh is yet another centre of pilgrimage and tourist attraction for Indians as well as foreigners. Rishikesh is popularly known as the Yoga Capital of the World. Rishikesh is 28 kms from Haridwar on way to Badrinath and is situated at the foothills on either side of holy river Ganga and is surrounded by Shivalik ranges from three sides. Rishikesh complex consists of three distinct areas, known as Rishikesh, Muni-ki-Reti and Swargashram. The town is well known for modem and ancient Ashrams.


In the upper reaches of the Ganga, numerous hydel projects threaten the river’s ecosystem. And in the plains, as the river flows through the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, a toxic mix of untreated sewage, discarded garbage, agricultural run-off and industrial waste flow unabated into it. Hindus regard the Ganga water as pure; but in reality it is pure toxic muck! So much so that one of India’s most treasured resources was also crowned one of the world’s top five most polluted rivers in 2007. The Ganga at Haridwar, where thousands of devotees take holy dip and collect water, continues to be polluted with sewage, a scientist has said, suggesting a “parallel canal strategy” for permanent prevention of pollution. The situation is most miserable and despite some waste water trappings through a piecemeal system of sewers, the town’s sewage continues to flow almost all along the Ganga canal at Haridwar.

There is zero management for solid waste which blocked many nalas, inlets/manholes resulting not only in overflow of sewage into the canal but led to most ugly and unaesthetic sites and foul smell.Nearly 89 million litres of sewage is daily disposed into Ganga from the 12 municipal towns that fall along its route till Haridwar. The amount of sewage disposed into the river increases during the Char Dham Yatra season when nearly 15 lakh pilgrims visit the state between May and October each year. According to the Ganga pollution control unit of Uttarakhand Peyjal Nigam, Haridwar alone accounts for 37.36 million litres of the sewage that goes directly to the Ganga without getting treated in any plant. Apart from sewage disposal of half-burnt human bodies at Haridwar and hazardous medical waste from the base hospital at Srinagar due to absence of an incinerator are also adding to pollution levels in the Ganga. It is worth mentioning that despite spending over Rs. 1500 crores by the Ganga Action Plan since its inception in 1984, the river still remains polluted. The second phase of the project, which is to get over in 2008, includes setting up of sewer lines in 8 cities in Garhwal that fall on the route of the river. According to an estimate, during its 2510 kilometre-long course from Gaumukh till Bay of Bengal, nearly 1 billion litres of untreated sewage gets disposed into the river.

Impact of the Pollution:

We should care about the continuing environmental degradation of our oceans and coastal areas because it is detrimental to human health, economic development, climate and our planet’s store of biodiversity. It is interfering with the sustainability of environment and its resources.

Main sources of marine pollution are atmosphere, river runoff, agriculture, livestock’s, urban runoff, automobiles, land clearing, sewage outfall, industrial waste etc. Thermal pollution is the degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature. A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers. When water used as a coolant is returned to the natural environment at a higher temperature, the change in temperature (a) decreases oxygen supply, and (b) affects ecosystem composition. Urban runoff–storm water discharged to surface waters from roads and parking lots–can also be a source of elevated water temperatures. When a power plant first opens or shuts down for repair or other causes, fish and other organisms adapted to particular temperature range can be killed by the abrupt rise in water temperature known as ‘thermal shock’.

Water quality is also detoriating because of pollution in river Ganga and it is affecting marine ecosystem. Elevated temperature typically decreases the level of dissolved oxygen (DO) in water. The decrease in levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) can harm aquatic animals such as fish, amphibians and copepods. Thermal pollution may also increase the metabolic rate of aquatic animals, as enzyme activity, resulting in these organisms consuming more food in a shorter time than if their environment were not changed. An increased metabolic rate may result in fewer resources; the more adapted organisms moving in may have an advantage over organisms that are not used to the warmer temperature. As a result one has the problem of compromising food chains of the old and new environments. Biodiversity can be decreased as a result. Three main types of inputs of pollution into the ocean are direct discharge of waste into the oceans, runoff into the waters due to rain, and pollutants that are released from the atmosphere.


Pollutants enters into to the oceans are mostly diluted; however the organisms living in the oceans tend to concentrate the pollutants into their body by various mechanisms, like adsorption, absorption, ingestion etc. The concentration of pollutant increases with higher tropic levels, i.e. from primary producers to the tertiary consumer. The threshold limit of organisms to the pollutant concentration increase with increasing tropic levels. Various mode of pollution transport in organisms includes bioconcentration, bioaccumulation and biomagnifications. Water pollution also leads to Large scale death of aquatic and terrestrial animals, Reduced reproduction rate, Increased incidence of diseases, Imbalances created in secondary food chains, Accumulation of bioaccumulative and non-biodegradable pollutants in animal bodies, Some organochlorine pesticides (like DDT, BHC, Endrin) are known for bioaccumulative and biomagnifiable characters.

Bad impact of Water Pollution on Environment and human health.

The contamination of water bodies has tremendous negative impact on environment, it has ability to destroy many animal habitats, and cause irreparable damage to many ecosystems. Water pollution is not only killing millions of people around the globe each year, it is also killing millions of plants and animals that simply cannot cope with the increasing levels of water pollution caused by different chemicals and other waste.

In some areas of the world water pollution issue is totally out of control, and in these areas polluted water spreads different toxins and other chemicals into environment, making it dirty, and above all unhealthy place to live in.

Among the most common causes of water pollution include the pathogens, various chemicals or other contaminants as well as other thermal sources of pollution. Pathogenic causes of pollution in water are usually the bacteria as well as other microorganisms that are commonly food in the surface of the water. If their population exceeds the normal rate, then its effects would be adverse to the human health. Of course, the chemical sources of water pollution include those from detergents, disinfectants, food processing wastes and many more. Water pollution can also leads to various diseases like vomiting or diarrhea, sick stomach, skin rashes, Cancer.

Legislation and Efforts to Clean Ganga River:

The basic objective taken by the people was to to create mass awareness for an eco-friendly non-violent culture of development for the protection of our life-sustaining natural systems in general and of the sacred Ganga and the Himalayas in particular; on the other hand, to put moral pressure on the government, to take time-bound decisive steps to completely and permanently save the Ganga.

Ganga Action Plan:

The Ganga Action Plan or GAP was a program launched by Rajiv Gandhi in April 1986 in order to reduce the pollution load on the river. But the efforts to decrease the pollution level in the river became more after spending र 901.71 Crore (~190 million USD adjusting to inflation). Therefore, this plan was withdrawn on 31 March 2000. The steering Committee of the National River Conservation Authority reviewed the progress of the GAP and necessary correction on the basis of lessons learned and experiences gained from the GAP phase; 2 schemes have been completed under this plan. A million liters of sewage is targeted to be intercepted, diverted and treated. Phase-II of the program was approved in stages from 1993 onwards, and included the following tributaries of the Ganges: Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and Mahananda.

National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA):

NRGBA was established by the Central Government of India, on 20 February 2009 under Section 3(3) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It also declared Ganges as the “National River” of India. The chair includes the Prime Minister of India and Chief Ministers of states through which the Ganges flows.

In exercise of the powers conferred by sub‐sections (1) and (3) of Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), the Central Government has constituted National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) as a planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for strengthening the collective efforts of the Central and State Government for effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga. One of the important functions of the NGRBA is to prepare and implement a Ganga River Basin: Environment Management Plan (GRB EMP).

A Consortium of 7 Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has been given the responsibility

of preparing Ganga River Basin: Environment Management Plan (GRB EMP) by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), GOI, New Delhi. Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) has been signed between 7 IITs (Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee) and MoEF for this purpose on July 6, 2010.

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission ( JNNURM) [4] :

40% of the total funds under directly or indirectly marked for river conservation, so this has become an essential avenue for corruption. Crores of rupees have gone down the drain over the past many years, but things haven’t changed a bit. Rather situation has further deteriorated. Instead, flood plain and river bed of majority of rivers have been sold by the governments to the private builders.

Meanwhile, activists of Jal Biradari and Tarun Bharat Sangh, who had earlier rattled the Uttarakhand government and forced it to suspend its hydro-electricity projects constructed over Ganga, have now started trooping in Allahabad. Conservationists and scientists would be in the Sangam city to participate in the meet called ‘Ganga Sammelan’ which was held on September 23, 2011

The call for the meet has been given by Jal Biradari, a body of river conservationists headed by Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh. The participants aim to protest against the government’s move to invest thousands of crores on river conservation without disclosing its plan of action.http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/images/pixel.gif

Save Ganga Movement :

With the help of many like-minded organizations and with the moral support from many religious leaders, spiritual and political, scientists, environmentalists, writers and social activists, initiated Save Ganga Movement against the pollution of river Ganga and its tributaries with a seminar on “Ganga aur hamaaraa daayitva” on 13th Nov. 1998 at Kanpur. Renowned Gandhians, Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna and Dr. Kanchanlata Sabarwal, also joined the Movement.

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Catastrophic Global Ecological Crisis:

According to the report of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published on20th March 2007. Apart from the Ganga, the Indus, Nile, and Yangtze are among the 10 most endangered rivers of the world that are lifeline of billions of people. Global warming could cause more hunger in poor countries and extinction of many animal and plant species and melt most glaciers of the Himalayas, which is the source of the Ganga, the Indus and many other great rivers, by the2030s, according to a draft UN report published on 6th April,2007 . The thought of Gandhiji, the apostle of Truth and non-violence of our age, does provide the form and content of a non-violent culture of development in the context of our present technological age, which is the surest and perhaps the only solution to our impending catastrophic global ecological crisis. The seers and prophets of all great religions would agree with the Gandhian solution.

Save Ganga Rally at Delhi (12th Nov, 2000):

A fervent appeal was made to the Hon’ble Rashtrapati for his guidance and active support in this cause. A national campaign was launched with a mass ralley in Delhi on 12th Nov. 2000, with blessings from the then Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and many eminent spiritual leaders including His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchikotipuram, Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani of Sadhu Vaswani Mission, Pune, in which eminent persons like Shri Sundarlal Bahuguna, Smt Tara Gandhi Bhattacharyaji, Dr Kanchanlata Sabarwal, Dr Samprasad Vinod etc. participated.

Save Ganga Yatra from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar (May 2002-Nov 2003):

Next two years have been devoted to coordinating the Save Ganga Yatra from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar in three phases during May 2002 to Nov 2003. In the course of the Yatra, we quite successfully held 3 Save Ganga Seminars and 6 Save Ganga Meetings in which many distinguished scientists, intellectuals, social activists, social leaders, Gandhians and religious leaders participated and expressed their views.

1st National Workshop on ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj’ (1st & 2nd October, 2004) [5] :

In the National Workshop on ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj’ held on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti as a part of our Save Ganga Movement at Gandhi Darshan Samiti, Rajghat, Delhi on 1st and 2nd October 2004, a Charter of Ten Demands were unanimously accepted to be the Ten Commandmentsto save the Ganga and the Himalayas. A book entitled Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj, published by Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad and NWO, Pune was released in the workshop.

Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March, New Delhi (12th March, 2006):

We organized a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March from Bapuji’s Samadhi at Raj ghat to Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 12-03-2006, the 76th Anniversary of Gandhji’s Dandi Yatra, and formally presented Our Charter of Ten Demands in the Office of our Hon’ble Rashtrapatiji in the form of an Appeal to Save the Ganga and the Himalayas. The Yatra was organized/ supported by about 24 organizations. It was unanimously resolved to celebrate the Day of Dandi Yatra, 12th March, every year in the form a Save Ganga & Save Himalaya March from Bapuji’s Samadhi to Rashtrapati Bhavan till the necessary steps are taken to completely and permanently save the Ganga &the Himalayas.

2nd National Workshop on ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj’ (1st – 3rd October, 2006):

The 2nd National Workshop on ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj’ was held on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti as a part of our Save Ganga Movement from 1st to 3rd October 2006 at Haridwar, Uttaranchal to discuss further deeply on various major issues concerning protection of the Ganga and the Himalayas as well as to create public awareness about it. As a part of the workshop a seminar ‘Gandhi Ganga and Giriraj’ was held at M.C. Mehta Environmental Foundation, Eco Ashram at Haridwar on 1st and 2nd October 2006 and a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Public Meeting was held at Har Ki Paudi, Haridwar on 3 rd October2006.

Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March, New Delhi (12th March, 2007):

A march was organized ; 2nd Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March from Bapuji’s Samadhi at Rajghat to Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 12-03-2007, the 77th Anniversary of Gandhji’s Dandi Yatra in the Centinary year of his Satyagrah in South Africa and presented the Charter of Ten Demands in the form of an appeal to Save the Ganga & the Himalayas.

Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March, New Delhi (12th March, 2008):

Celebrated the 78th Anniversary of Gandhji’s Dandi Yatra in the form of a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas March from Bapuji’s Samadhi at Rajghat to Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 12-03-2008 .

Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting-cum-Panel Discussion, New Delhi (12th March, 2010):

We celebrated the 80th Anniversary of Gandhji’s Dandi Yatra in the form of a Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meeting- cum- Panel Discussion at Gandhi Darsan, Rajghat, New Delhi on 12thMarch, 2010.

There was an essential agreement on the following two points:

The highly earth quake prone, eco-fragile Uttarkhand region of the Ganga Basin must be declared “Ecological Fragile” and its rivers “wild river” and all steps must be taken to protect them and the natural eco-systems they support

2. Since our rivers are the source of drinking water for crores of our common people and also for the animals and STPs cannot convert sewage into potable water, industrial effluents and hospital wastes treated or untreated and also sewage from the cities and towns treated or untreated, must not be allowed to enter into the rivers: sewers must be separated from rivers and sewage must be converted into valuable natural manure for organic farming, producing electricity in the process wherever possible.

The main objective of “Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Yatra from Badrinath to Rameshwar” is to bring together under one roof various like-minded eminent persons from different streams of life and like-minded religious leaders & religious institutions of different faiths, Gandhian leaders & Gandhian institutions, social activists & NGOs, etc. to devote to the cause of creating

(1) The mass-awareness necessary to save the Ganga, symbolizing all rivers and water bodies, and the Giriraj Himalaya, symbolizing all mountains, forests and wildlife

(2) The mass-awareness necessary to create a Gandhian Non-violent Culture of Development, which is the surest and perhaps the only solution to our impending catastrophic Global Ecological Crisis, through Save Ganga & Save Himalayas Meetings/ Seminars/ Workshops, etc to be held in various major cities/ pilgrimage centers of our country in the course of the Yatra.

It is deeply satisfying that our Save Ganga Movement has succeeded to a great extent to bring under one umbrella various like-minded eminent scientists, social workers and organizations, Gandhians, spiritual leaders and organizations to work together for the absolutely non-controversial noble cause of Saving the Ganga and the Himalayas.

Supreme Court of India:

The Supreme Court has been working on the closure and relocation of many of the industrial plants along the Ganges and in 2010 the government declared the stretch of river between Gaumukh and Uttarkashi an “eco-sensitive zone”.


In early 2011, a Hindu seer named Swami Nigamananda Saraswati fasted unto death, protesting against illegal mining happening in the district of Haridwar (in Uttarakhand) resulting in pollution. Following his death in June 2011, his Ashram leader Swami Shivananda fasted for 11 days starting on November 25, 2011, taking his movement forward. Finally, the Uttarkhand government released an order to ban illegal mining all over Haridwar district. According to administration officials, quarrying in the Ganges would now be studied by a special committee which would assess its environmental impacts the river and its nearby areas.

Prof. G. D. Agrawal:

Noted environmental activist, Prof. G. D. Agrawal sat for fast unto death on 15 January 2012. Due to support from other social activists like Anna Hazare, the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh agreed to Prof. Agrawal’s demands. Accordingly, he called for a National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA) meeting and urged the authorities to utilize the 2,600 crore (~520M USD) sanctioned for creating sewer networks, sewage treatment plants, sewage pumping stations, electric crematoria, community toilets and development of river fronts.

Failure of Ganga Action Plan:

It is truly deeply anguishing that we have failed to make the Ganga free from pollution in spite of our central government launching the Ganga Action Plan in 1985, and spending hundreds of crores of rupees for this purpose, even though we know that the Ganga is the lifeline of our crores of people and crores of our people consider her to be their divine mother, and our experts claim that we have the necessary knowledge, skill and wealth to make the Ganga and her tributaries completely pollution free within 4-5 years.

GAP suffered from the following limitations [6] :

Only a part of the pollution load of the river could be tackled.

GAP concentrated on improving the water quality of Ganga, in terms of organic pollution and dissolved oxygen.

Only the wastewater of towns flowing through the drains to the river was targeted.

Connections of household toilets to the sewer system, solid waste management, and some other vital aspects of municipal activities, which impinge on the water quality were not addressed.

The issue of ensuring environmental flows in the river was not attended to. This has become increasingly important in view of the competing demands on the Ganga water for drinking, irrigation and power generation. Adopting more efficient water conservation practices could have reduced the need for abstraction of water from Ganga.

Problems of land acquisition, court cases, contractual issues and inadequate capacities in the local bodies/implementing agencies came in the way of speedy implementation.

Tree cover in the Ganga basin has reduced considerably and land use pattern has changed leading to soil erosion. Sediment yield and its deposit on the river bed were also not monitored.

Pollution load from non-point sources was addressed marginally.

No attention was paid to run-off from agricultural fields, which brings non biodegradable

Pesticides into the river.

Measures necessary for the prevention of pollution of the river water while planning

New settlements or expansion of the present ones were not considered.

Watershed development as well as groundwater and surface water interaction were not covered.

Only Class-I towns on the banks of rivers were taken up. Thus a large number of urban settlements remained outside the purview of the Plan.

Pollution from rural sector was not addressed.

Several parameters such as heavy metals, pesticides, nitrogen and phosphorous were not monitored. These parameters have become important with increased industrialization and urbanization.

Suggestions and Recommendations:

Gangotri Valley to be viewed as a place of pilgrim tourism and spiritual activities. All

Commercial activities in the vicinity of Gangotri (say within 500 m) to be transformed into eco friendly activities. Plan for environment protection and preservation of natural and pristine conditions (e.g. hotel culture to be changed to hut culture; severe restrictions on overnight stay of tourists, promotion of pilgrim tourism than commercial tourism, facilitating “Pad Yatra”, encouraging use of locally available materials, provision for segregated collection of entire solid waste of all kinds, entirely eliminating disposal of any kind of waste from anthropogenic sources in the valley, complete recycle/reuse and conversion into acceptable products of wastes generated; sanitation and bathing facilities with no direct/indirect discharge into river valley, control of noise and artificial lighting, etc.).

Harshil to be developed as nature friendly, zero waste terminal pilgrim tourist spot with facilities of ashrams, guest houses, parking, internet, etc.

Environmental Flow (E Flow) to be estimated at various places, particularly for those stretches where river flow has been modified. Flo


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