Army veterans, activists embark on ‘Ganga Parikrama’ to map pollution
A group of 11 people, including retired army officers, a farmer, an adventurist and Ganga activists, have embarked on ‘Atuylya Ganga Parikrama’ for pollution mapping of Ganga from Gomukh to Gangasagar.
They will also ensure afforestation on either side of the river and sensitise locals about the role they can play in keeping Ganga clean.
The group members are Major General (retd) Vinod Bhatt, Lt Col (retd) Hem Lohumi, Col (Retd) Manoj Keshwar, Military Engineer (Retd) Gopal Sharma, farmer Hiren Patel, adventurer Indu (goes by her first name), lensman Rohit Umrao, Rohit Jat, Shagun Tyagi, and Kirti Kumar.
They started from Prayagraj on December 16 and aim to complete the process in the next 250 days.
The group members walk along Ganga from dawn to dusk and stay along it during the night.
Col Manoj Keshwar, member of the group, said, “We walk along Ganga, planting saplings of indigenous species like Peepal, Banyan, Pakar, Neem, and Indigo along the river and appeal to the locals to take care of the plants and move forward.”
Hiren Patel, a farmer from Gujarat, drops seed of mangoes, mahua, and indigo on the river bank as part of the group’s plan to promote green cover on either side of the river. The group members are also doing pollution mapping of the river by recording details of the untreated drains vacating in the river.
Major General Bhatt, with the help of group members, collects samples of Ganga water from its stretches which are being polluted by the untreated drains. Equipped with a portable pollution testing kit, the group members test the samples and record the level of Biological oxygen demand (BOD) and Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Ph, among other pollutants.
The group also records complete details of every drain discharging in the river by collecting information about it from the locals.
Col Manoj Keshwar said, “The group will walk to the Bay of Bengal where Ganga meets the sea. The team will walk back to Gomukh, the place of the origin of Ganga in Uttarakhand, and will return to Prayagraj where they have planned to conclude the journey.”
The Col said it would take around 250 days in their journey. Team will walk around 6,000 kilometres to complete the Parikrama of Ganga.
Col Manoj said, “Along with the pollution mapping of the river Ganga, we are also planning to create an Atulya Ganga App which will have the complete information about the drains polluting river Ganga.”
He said that the union ministry of water resources and tourism ministry are supporting the circumambulation.
He said that along with pollution mapping, efforts are being made for the geo-mapping of the river.