24.3 - South Asia Human Environment Interaction

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A look at the human-environment interaction in South Asia, focusing on the Ganges River.

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24.3 - South Asia Human Environment Interaction

  1. 1. South Asia: Human-Environment Interaction
  2. 2. <ul><li>Ganges River </li></ul><ul><li>The Ganges, as we saw previously, is one of the most important rivers in South Asia. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This isn’t just because of its economic value, however. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Ganges is also important to Hindus (80% of India’s population is Hindu). </li></ul></ul>
  3. 5. <ul><li>The Ganges’ drainage basin is three times the size of France. </li></ul><ul><li>350-500 million people live in this basin. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider that there are only 300 million in the U.S. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 6. <ul><li>In Hinduism, the Ganges is worshipped as a goddess. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is believed that bathing in it can give forgiveness of one’s sins. Some days are holier than others for this. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People also drink from it and carry away water in copper pots. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 7. <ul><ul><li>Many Hindu families keep a vial of Ganges water in their home, which symbolizes both the importance of the Ganges and also to drink if a family member is near death. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many temples line the river and people go down the steps into the water to bathe and pray. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The ashes of the deceased are also scattered in the river in the belief that doing so will help ensure the person goes to heaven. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 11. <ul><li>Unfortunately, the Ganges is also very polluted. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fertilizers and pesticides get into the river through drainage and some industrial wasters are dumped into it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There’s also raw sewage that’s released into it. That’s nearly 264 million gallons of human waster per day. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 12. <ul><ul><li>All this combined with the fact that dead bodies or insufficiently cremated bodies are often found floating in the river makes for an unpleasant situation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As you might imagine, many people become ill from bathing in and/or drinking the water. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They do it because they believe the Ganges is too holy to be polluted and will clean itself. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 15. <ul><li>Feni River </li></ul><ul><li>The Feni is a river in Bangladesh. </li></ul><ul><li>It had a bad habit of succumbing to storm surges that would flow up the river during cyclones. </li></ul><ul><li>These surges would flood inland areas.  </li></ul><ul><li>In the 1980’s, a large earthen dam was built across the mile-long mouth to protect the interior from surges. </li></ul>

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