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Vol. 20 No. 4 - October 2014

Problems of ganga - a holistic view
(Summary of Problems & action plan)

By: K. Chandramouli*

Who does not know the Problems of Ganga? Presently, it is essential to know how to prepare and implement an Action Plan to Save Ganga. Here is a brief Note on the Action Plan in the real sense of Holistic View--a view that has only been talked about but so far never applied in practice. Points given below are very brief and indicative only. For More details please refer to Author's Booklet "Save Ganga" (English) or " Ganga Bachavo" (Hindi).

Problems & Action plan

1. Climate Change & Receding Glaciers. (Hills)

Declare 150kms from Glaciers as Eco-Sensitive

Prepare White Paper on Forestation

Ban Luxury Tourism, Adopt Eco Tourism

Ban Use of Kerosene, Diesel, Smoke Chulas

Freely Distribute Smokeless Chulas, Pressure Cookers in Hills

2. Flow Reduced (High Withdrawals from Rivers)

Water Conservation Measures-Irrigation, Industry, Domestic, (Reduce Consumption & Waste- Involves-Irrigation, Agriculture Yields, Organic Farming, Cropping Pattern, Food Habits etc etc.)

Minimise Pipe Line & Pilferage Wastages (40%) in Cities

Improve Recycling of Water

Improve Sources-Harvest Rain Water, Ground W, Ponds, Lakes

3. Breaking Fragile Hills

Ban Heavy Constructions, Blasting, Restrict Tourism, Heavy Vehicles, Urabanisation, Ban Tree Cutting, Deforestation,

Do not Change River Morphology by Diversions, Tunnels, Reservoirs (that immerse forests)

Allow Free Flow of River and Sediment Flow

Survey & Protect Trees and Herbal Plants, Wild Life Habitats etc.

4. Industrial Pollution

Convert PCBs into Active, Energetic, Vigilant (Not Negligent), Result Oriented Units, Responsible & Answerable to All Lapses.

Fight Pollution, Do Not Succumb to Political Pressure or Mafia

Give Time Schedule to Industries to Replace Old Process/ Equipment to Save Energy/Water Consumption/Pollutant Discharge

5. Domestic Sewage

Quick Survey to Estimate Sewage Flowing into Ganga & Tributaries at all Points; Estimates for 2025-2030.

Finalise Sewage Treatment Technologies (at Different Places) and Estd Costs.

Clear Choked Storm Drains & Encroachments, Avoid Mix up of Rain Water with Sewage.

Plan for Decadal Population Growth 30% in Urban Centres.

6. Agri Run off Fertilizers & Pesticides)

Prevent Run off by Creating 'Green Belt' All Along the Banks of Rivers by Growing Definite Species of Trees.

Avoid Misuse of Banks by Corridors for Highway or Monorail.

Encourage Farmers to Grow Two Rows of Trees Around their Boundaries

Minimise Use of Fertilisers and Pesticides.

Ban Use of Chemical Fertilisers on Farms in Flood Plains.

7. Solid Waste (Non Point Pollutants)

PCB To Procure Industry wise Data of Hazardous Waste and Actions In Each Case (Target and Time Bound Action).

PCB To Procure Data of Hospital wise Waste and actions For Safe Disposal

Each Thermal Plant to Tackle The Problem of Disposing Fly Ash in Next 3 years-No Dumping into Low Lying Areas.

Adopt 3 Fold Policy for Garbage Disposal-1) Polluter Pays for Industrial Garbage, 2) Polluter Holds till Clearance by Municipality for Service Sector (Shops, Street Vendors, Hotels, Guest Houses/Resorts, Marriage Halls, Clubs, Public Functions) and 3) Polluter Segregates for Domestic Garbage (Details in Booklet 'Save Ganga').

Implement Strict Adherance to Ban on Certain use & Throw Items ike Polythene Carry Bags, Plastic Cups, Spoons, etc which create Maximum Garbage (Manufacture, Storage, Sale).

8. Save Ecology (Save River System)

Survey on Herbs, Bio Diversity, Flora-Fauna, Aquatic Life and Wild Life (Types, Population, Place etc).

Apt Measures to Protect Ecology Diversity of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish.

Save Endangered Species Like Dolphins, Turtles, Crocodile, Indian Otter, Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Sunderban Marsh Crocodiles, Bengal Tiger etc.

9. River Front Habits

Involve Local Groups to Curb/Restrict/Monitor Activities Like;

a) Use of Soaps, Detergents, Oil etc for Bathing etc.

b) Defecating, Cleaning of Animals, Vehicles, Throwing Garbage,Waste, Carcass, Dead Bodies, Animals--Punishable Offence.

c) Use of Chemicals, Immersion of Idols, Puja Materials, Plastics etc.

d) Social, Luxury, Cultural Activities & Water Sports.

e) Build and Run Efficiently--Elec Crematoriums, Dhobi Facilities, Change Rooms, Toilets etc (Bulit for Cleanliness).

f) Propaganda for Forbidding “Performance of 14 Acts Near/On Ganga”.

Finally Convert Ghats into Cultural Centres To Avoid Misuse

10. Misuse of River Banks

a) Ban Illegal Sand / Stone mining,

b) Remove Encroachments of all kinds bybrick kilns, agri-farms, resorts, buildings etc.

c) No Diversion of river course

Enact Law to Prohibit Constructions for 150mtrs from Highest Flood Level Marks on Banks, on Both Sides. (Implement Allahabad High Court Order)

Find Better/Efficient Alternative Other Than Embankments for Flood Control

Ban/Remove Encroachments on Mangroves near Sea Shore in West Bengal.

11. Other Measures

Set Up Think Tanks and Gather Nation-wide Expert Opinion on Subjects like River Linking, Breaking of Dams on Hills, Barrages on Ganga, National Highway Corridor or Monorail Corridor on the banks etc.

Consider Expert Opinions of Academicians in More than 100 Universities and some Reputed Retired Officials in the Ganga Basin.

Consider Opinions of Previous Experts Like Mr B.B.Vohra (Ex Chairman of the Advisory Board of Energy), Mr Waldia and Others on such Subjects.

12. Participative Management

Encourage Formation of Ganga Centres at Local and District to Work in Unity for All Local Representations.

Ganga Centres at all important places like (example only), Haridwar, Bijnore, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, upto Ganga Sagar.

Channelise individual/group wise grievances Through Ganga Centres. Many local problems can be satisfactorily be tackled only with People's Participation.

Ganga Centres will be Watch Dogs/Auditors to check Quality, Expenses, Time Schedules etc During Execution of Projects.

Only Specialist Think Tanks or Committees Do Not Solve Social and Do Not Ensure Participative Management.

*[email protected]

This article has been reproduced from the archives of EnviroNews - Newsletter of ISEB India.

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