Dry patches in a stretch mid-stream of river Ganga near Samane Ghat area.(HT Photo/Rajesh Kumar)
Dry patches in a stretch mid-stream of river Ganga near Samane Ghat area.(HT Photo/Rajesh Kumar)

Heat takes toll on river Ganga too!

Extreme summer is not only taking its toll on humans and animals but national river Ganga is also facing the heat. Patches of sand are visible in long stretches of Ganga in midstream as the water is drying up. This has raised concern among zoologists, environmentalists and Ganga activists who feel if the situation continues for long then it may lead to serious threat to flora and fauna of the national river.
By Sudhir Kumar | Hindustan Times, Varanasi, Varanasi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 26, 2018 01:19 PM IST

Extreme summer is not only taking its toll on humans and animals but national river Ganga is also facing the heat. Patches of sand are visible in long stretches of Ganga in midstream as the water is drying up. This has raised concern among zoologists, environmentalists and Ganga activists who feel if the situation continues for long then it may lead to serious threat to flora and fauna of the national river. 

Head of department chemical engineering at IIT-BHU, Prof PK Mishra: “Emergence of dry patches in midstream of river Ganga is due to lack of water due to which concentration of pollutants has to increase. It will eventually lead to serious threat to bacteriophages, the reason behind self-purification ability of Ganga and its other aquatic animals,” said Prof Mishra. He laid emphasis on the need for releasing additional water in order to maintain at least minimum natural river flow in Varanasi. 

Currently three cities, including Kanpur (600MLD), Allahabad (400 MLD) and Varanasi (400MLD), generate 1,400 MLD of effluence daily. It comprises industrial and domestic effluents. Of that, only 500 MLD is being treated and the remaining 900 mld of effluence goes untreated into River Ganga, Prof Mishra added. 

He further said that the situation of Ganga from Kanpur to Varanasi was very alarming. He urged the state and Central government to start construction of rainwater harvesting system in every building. “Simultaneously, it should be ensured that each new multi-storey building, mall and hotel must set up a bio-digester to ensure treatment of effluence they generate,” he said. 

Development authorities should sanction the maps of new hotels, malls and other buildings with a condition to set up the bio-digester system, Prof Mishra suggests. Time has come to make serious efforts for saving the river. 

Meanwhile, professor at department of zoology, BHU, Dr Benchan Lal also expressed concerned over scarcity of water in the river. “Dry patches, in fact, show that Ganga needs to replenished. Dearth of water is a serious threat to its flora and fauna.” 

Similarly, Swati Pandey, a local who studied environmental science, also expressed concerned over the situation. “If there is dearth of water in River Ganga for long time then it adversely affects environment. We need to stop indiscriminate exploitation of groundwater. In addition, we should plant more trees along the river,” she advises. 

Social activist Vallabhacharya Pandey also expressed concern and appealed to the locals to make efforts for saving the river. “It is the responsibility of one and all to contribute towards Ganga cleaning and take a resolution not to dump any waste into the national river,” he said. 

According to Central Water Commission, the minimum water level of River Ganga was recorded 58.27 metre on June 29, 2017, while on Friday Ganga’s water level in Varanasi was recorded at 57.79 metres. 

District magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra has recently written to the state government authorities for releasing water into the national river Ganga from Naraura or other dams.

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