(Kaushal Kishore) Mother Ganga traverses through 2,525 kilometres or nearly 1,568 miles on our precious land, from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar. These vast areas have been treated as a huge reservoir and a logical place for the quiet disposal of the tremendous volume of waste in the river or on its banks, over many decades. However, the citizens of Ganga basin have already bequeathed a dreadful heritage of disposing waste materials by dumping them in the river. But this tradition that results from the folly of misusing the valuable resources is still continued.
The bed of the flowing Ganga, from Devprayag to Hardwar and her three main streams namely—Alakananda, Mandakini and Bhagirathi, before Devprayag in the quiet Himalayan valley, in the province of Uttarakhand, may be delightful to look at, but what happens under the surface of water is an entirely different issue. Plastic bags, plastic containers, mineral water bottles, thousands of cans, bits of rubber, plastic tubing, egg cartons, partly dissolved faeces, Dispo-van syringes and needles are flowing with the silt, pebbles and boulders under the surface of the water. Such dumping of waste in the river was perfectly normal and legal, a few decades ago, in the absence of environmental awareness and adjudication of current environmental laws of the land.
But dumping of trash in the Ganga is still a common practice in northern India. The pristine beauty of the river begins to fade away whence she moves through Hardwar and Rishikesh. Each year hundreds of millions of people come to the serene site of pilgrimage to attain peace, bliss and prosperity, whereas they return only after contributing to its pollution. Here pollution increases drastically at many points along the river. Long flights of steps known as ghats that lead down to the river edge remain crowded with pilgrims, tourists, beggars, priests and local residents. The increase in the number of people on the river banks simultaneously increases the pollution.
Source: The Holy Ganga