Canadian firm, ADB to help clean Ganges in Bihar

April 5th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by admin  

Patna, April 5 (IANS) A Canadian company and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help to clean up drains that empty into the Ganges in the Bihar capital. “Enviroway, a Canadian company in collaboration with ADB, will clean the drains, the main source of pollution in the river Ganges in Patna,” Urban Development Minister Ashwani Choubey told IANS.

“The state government was in constant touch with them after they showed keen interest to launch measures to help clean the river and keep it pollution-free,” he said.

The river is highly polluted despite being held sacred by Hindus. About 30 large drains here discharge about 190 million litres of untreated sewage and garbage into the Ganges every day.

Enviroway will introduce biochemical treatment methods to clean the drains that will be cost effective and eco-friendly.

Choubey claimed that ADB expressed its willingness to tackle increasing pollution in the river after a high-powered team visited Bihar in February this year as well as last year.

According to Choubey, the state government plans to initiate similar measures in Bhagalpur town.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said last week that untreated sewage and garbage would not be allowed into the Ganges. “The state government is working on a plan to keep the Ganges pollution-free,” he told a delegation of Hindu saints.

Tested samples of the water revealed a high presence of cauliform bacteria. “Garbage is dumped into the river, contributing to the growth of the bacteria,” a scientist said.

Latest research has pointed out that the level of pollution in the holy river has reached an alarming proportion and the Ganges water is unfit not only for drinking and bathing but also for agricultural purposes.

A joint team of army and air force officers has completed its journey from Allahabad to Patna on the water route. Members of the team said they were shocked at the filthy condition of the riverbanks, the garbage dumping and the flow of untreated sewage water into the Ganges.

“We came across dozens of half-burnt bodies and corpses floating in the river. We also came across animal carcasses and heaps of polythene bags,” a team member said.

According to an estimate of the environmental science department of AN College, Patna, during the river’s 2,510-km-long journey from Gaumukh to the Bay of Bengal, nearly a billion litres of untreated sewage gets disposed of into the river.

In Patna, the Ganges has shifted its natural course as a result of pollution.

Over Rs.8 billion has been spent in the last three years to clean up many Indian rivers, but major ones like the Ganges and the Yamuna continue to be dirty. Most of the money was spent on cleaning the drains that empty into the rivers by putting in sewage treatment plants (STPs) and sanitation facilities.

Last year, the committee expressed concern about the state of the high-profile Ganga (Ganges) Action Plan (GAP) meant to clean India’s longest and most famous river.

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