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GANGA ACTION PLAN

GANGA ACTION PLAN

Ganga and its tributaries fulfill the water needs of nearly 40% of Indian population.

However, Ganga is one of the most polluted rivers of the world due to the following factors:

  • Human waste from bathing, washing of clothes, defecation, discharge of waste from religious activities, etc.
  • Industrial wastes such as untreated discharge from leather tanneries, chemical plants, textile mills, etc. The industrial waste discharge comprises only 12% of the total waste, but it is highly toxic and non-biodegradable.

Implications of High Pollution in Ganga

  • Concentration of toxic elements such as lead, cadmium, mercury, etc., has increased in Ganga. The toxic increase leads to nervous system disorders, kidney disorders, cancer, etc.
  • Pollution in Ganga increases the growth of microorganisms, leading to an increase in communicable diseases and other health problems.
  • Pollution in Ganga affects the aquatic life present in it.

The Ganga Action Plan was launched in the year 1986 to reduce pollution in Ganga. However, the plan had failed and was withdrawn in the year 2000.

The Ganga Action Plan had failed due to the following factors:

  • Lack of coordination among various state governments through which Ganga and its tributaries pass.
  • Lack of participation by people.
  • Lack of staff and funds to implement the plan.
  • Lack of emphasis by the administration for the implementation of the plan.

After the failure of the Ganga Action Plan, the Plan was relaunched and is currently under implementation.

Target under relaunch is to divert one million litres of sewage added annually to Ganga.

  • Certain reforms were undertaken before relaunching the Ganga Action Plan. To increase awareness among people, Ganga has now been declared as the National River.
  • To ensure coordination among states through which Ganga flows, an action at the highest level for cleaning Ganga, the National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA) has been created.
  • The NRGBA is headed by the prime minister and the chief ministers of various states, through which Ganga and its tributaries pass, are its members.
  • Hydrological experts emphasise that a river has the ability of self-purification, provided, it is able to maintain sufficient amount of flow throughout its course.
  • Swift flow enables the river to drag pollution on its banks.
  • It is alleged that the construction of dams across Ganga in the upper regions, such as Tehri Dam, has reduced the flow of Ganga, leading to the accumulation of garbage in it.

Recent Efforts to Clean Ganga

National mission for clean Ganga

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is an authority under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation with the aim to clean Ganga and its tributaries.
  • The NMCG aims not only at cleaning river Ganga, but also in setting up biodiversity centres, crematoria and in the construction and modernisation of ghats along the banks of Ganga.

Namami Gange

  • It is a programme initiated by the Modi Government in 2014 with an estimated budget of 20,000 crores.
  • With the new sewage treatment plants and river surface cleaning projects, Namami Gange focuses on abatement of pollution with a radical approach to ensure pure water quality and sustainable development.
  • The Namami Gange programme includes states and grassroot-level institutions such as urban-local bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions for its implementation.              GANGA ACTION PLAN
  • The programme stresses on the coordination among various ministries of the central and state governments.
  • Flora and fauna are considered as the major parts of the programme.
  • The programme includes massive afforestation activities for the conservation of biodiversity.
  • Effective plans and policies are to be carried out in conserving dolphins, turtles and various varieties of fish.

Clean Ganga fund As a part of Namami Gange Programme, the Government of India has set up `Clean Ganga Fund’ for encouraging private contributions, both from India and abroad towards Ganga Rejuvenation.

  • The fund will have the objective of contributing to the national effort of cleaning Ganga.
  • As approved by the Cabinet, the funds will be utilised for undertaking various activities under Namami Gange Programme.                                            GANGA ACTION PLAN
  • The total contribution received as on 4th March 2016 in Clean Ganga Fund was Z87.69 crores. Domestic donors to the Fund shall be eligible for tax benefits as applicable in the case of the Swachh Bharat Kosh.
  • The fund would be managed by a trust to be headed by the finance minister.
  • The secretariat of the Trust will be set up in the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation under the Mission Director, Clean Ganga.

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Environment & Biodiversity

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