Case study on: Ganga water pollution


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Case study on: Ganga water pollution

  1. 1. Submitted by: Shradddha Samant MMS Marketing Div.C Roll no. 133 A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. The pollution of environment is the ‘gift’ of the industrial revolution. In the following case study we would study how the sacred river of Ganga has been polluted along the years and what is its present situation.
  2. 2. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 Table of Contents Introduction……………………………………………………………………….. 2 The Ganges………………………………………………………………………. 3 Exploitation of the river………………………………………………………….. 6 Previous work……………………………………………………………………. 7 Present Situation………………………………………………………………… 8 Cleaning efforts………………………………………………………………… 11 Conclusions and Lessons learnt……………………………………………….. 13 Recommendations………………………………………………………………. 13 References……………………………………………………………………….. 14 1 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  3. 3. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 Introduction Most ancient civilizations grew along the banks of rivers. Even today, millions of people all over the world live on the banks of rivers and depend on them for their survival. All of us have seen a river - large or small, either flowing through our town, or somewhere else. Rivers are nothing more than surface water flowing down from a higher altitude to a lower altitude due to the pull of gravity. One river might have its source in a glacier, another in a spring or a lake. Rivers carry dissolved minerals, organic compounds, small grains of sand, gravel, and other material as they flow downstream. Rivers begin as small streams, which grow wider as smaller streams and rivers join them along their course across the land. Eventually they flow into seas or oceans. Unfortunately most of the world's major rivers are heavily polluted. The pollution of environment is the ‘gift’ of the industrial revolution. Prior to this the agrarian cultures created significant environmental deterioration in the form of soil erosion- through deforestation and overgrazing. The environmental degradation is a by product of modern civilization. There has been a steady deterioration in the quality of water of Indian rivers over several decades. India’s fourteen major, 55 minor and several hundred small rivers receive millions of litres of sewage, industrial and agricultural wastes. Most of these rivers have been rendered to the level of sewage flowing drains. There are serious water quality problems in the cities, towns and villages using these waters. Water borne diseases are rampant, fisheries are on decline, and even cattle are not spared from the onslaught of pollution. According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) five rivers in Asia serving over 870 million people are among the most threatened in the world, as dams, water extraction and climate change all take their toll. The Ganges, Indus, Yangtze, Salween-Nu and Mekong-Lancang rivers make up half of the WWF’s “top ten” most threatened river basins. India has a large number of rivers that are lifelines for the millions living along their banks. These rivers can be categorized into four groups: 1. Rivers that flow down from the Himalayas and are supplied by melting snow and glaciers. This is why these are perennial, that is, they never dry up during the year. 2. The Deccan Plateau Rivers, which depend on rainfall for their water. 3. The coastal rivers, especially those on the west coast, which are short and do not retain water throughout the year. 4. The rivers in the inland drainage basin of west Rajasthan, which depend on the rains. These rivers normally drain towards silt lakes or flow into the sand. 2 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  4. 4. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 The Ganges The river Ganga occupies a unique position in the cultural ethos of India. Legend says that the river has descended from Heaven on earth as a result of the long and arduous prayers of King Bhagirathi for the salvation of his deceased ancestors. From times immemorial, the Ganga has been India's river of faith, devotion and worship. Millions of Hindus accept its water as sacred. Even today, people carry treasured Ganga water all over India and abroad because it is "holy" water and known for its "curative" properties. However, the river is not just a legend, it is also a life-support system for the people of India. It is important because: • The densely populated Ganga basin is inhabited by 37 per cent of India's population. • The entire Ganga basin system effectively drains eight states of India. • About 47 per cent of the total irrigated area in India is located in the Ganga basin alone. • It has been a major source of navigation and communication since ancient times. • The Indo-Gangetic plain has witnessed the blossoming of India's great creative talent. The Ganga river The Ganga rises on the southern slopes of the Himalayan ranges (Figure 2) from the Gangotri glacier at 4,000 m above mean sea level. It flows swiftly for 250 km in the mountains, descending steeply to an elevation of 288 m above mean sea level. In the Himalayan region the Bhagirathi is joined by the tributaries Alaknanda and Mandakini to form the Ganga. After entering the plains at Hardiwar, it winds its way to the Bay of Bengal, covering 2,500 km through the provinces of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal (Figure 1). In the plains it is joined by Ramganga, Yamuna, Sai, Gomti, Ghaghara, Sone, Gandak, Kosi and Damodar along with many other smaller rivers. The Ganga river carries the highest silt load of any river in the world and the deposition of this material in the delta region results in the largest river delta in the world (400 km from north to south and 320 km from east to west). The rich mangrove forests of the Gangetic delta contain very rare and valuable species of plants and animals and are unparalleled among many forest ecosystems. 3 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  5. 5. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 Figure 1: Location map of India showing the Ganga River Figure 2: Map of India showing the route of the Ganga river 4 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  6. 6. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 The Holy Ganga. River Ganga (Ganges) of India has been held in high esteem since time immemorial and Hindus from all over the world cherish the idea of a holy dip in the river under the faith that by doing so they will get rid of their sins of life. More than 400 million people live along the Ganges River. An estimated 2,000,000 persons ritually bathe daily in the river. Historically also, Ganga is the most important river of the country and beyond doubt is closely connected with the history of civilization as can be noticed from the location of the ancient cities of Hardwar, Prayag, Kashi and Patliputra at its bank. To millions of people it is sustainer of life through multitude of canal system and irrigation of the wasting load. Hundreds of the villages and even the big cities depend for their drinking water on this river. It is believed, a fact which has also been observed, that the water of Ganga never decays even for months and years when water of other rivers and agencies begins to develop bacteria and fungi within a couple of days. This selfpurification characteristic of Ganga is the key to the holiness and sanctity of its water. The combination of bacteriophages and large populations of people bathing in the river have apparently produced a self-purification effect, in which water-borne bacteria such as dysentery and cholera are killed off, preventing large-scale epidemics. The river also has an unusual ability to retain dissolved oxygen. However, the purity of the water depends on the velocity and the dilution capacity of the river. A large part of the flow of the Ganga is abstracted for irrigation just as it enters the plains at Hardiwar. From there it flows as a trickle for a few hundred kilometres until Allahabad, from where it is recharged by its tributaries. The Ganga receives over 60 per cent of its discharge from its tributaries. The contribution of most of the tributaries to the pollution load is small, except from the Gomti, Damador and Yamuna rivers, for which separate action programmes have already started under Phase II of "The National Rivers Conservation Plan". 5 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  7. 7. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 Exploitation of the river In the recent past, due to rapid progress in communications and commerce, there has been a swift increase in the urban areas along the river Ganga, As a result the river is no longer only a source of water but is also a channel, receiving and transporting urban wastes away from the towns. Today, one third of the country's urban population lives in the towns of the Ganga basin. Out of the 2,300 towns in the country, 692 are located in this basin, and of these, 100 are located along the river bank itself. The belief the Ganga river is "holy" has not, however, prevented over-use, abuse and pollution of the river. All the towns along its length contribute to the pollution load. It has been assessed that more than 80 per cent of the total pollution load (in terms of organic pollution expressed as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)) arises from domestic sources, i.e. from the settlements along the river course. Due to over-abstraction of water for irrigation in the upper regions of the river, the dry weather flow has been reduced to a trickle. Rampant deforestation in the last few decades, resulting in topsoil erosion in the catchment area, has increased silt deposits which, in turn, raise the river bed and lead to devastating floods in the rainy season and stagnant flow in the dry season. Along the main river course there are 25 towns with a population of more than 100,000 and about another 23 towns with populations above 50,000. In addition there are 50 smaller towns with populations above 20,000. There are also about 100 identified major industries located directly on the river, of which 68 are considered as grossly polluting. Fifty-five of these industrial units have complied with the regulations and installed effluent treatment plants (ETPs) and legal proceedings are in progress for the remaining units. The natural assimilative capacity of the river is severely stressed. The principal sources of pollution of the Ganga river can be characterised as follows:       6 Domestic and industrial wastes. It has been estimated that about 1.4 × 106 m3 d-1 of domestic wastewater and 0.26 × 106 m3 d-1 of industrial sewage are going into the river. Solid garbage thrown directly into the river. Non-point sources of pollution from agricultural run-off containing residues of harmful pesticides and fertilisers. Animal carcasses and half-burned and unburned human corpses thrown into the river. Defecation on the banks by the low-income people. Mass bathing and ritualistic practices Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  8. 8. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 Previous studies A number of investigations have been carried out on the physiochemical and biological characters of the Ganga. Lakshminarayana (1965) published a series of papers reporting the results of studies carried out at Varanasi during the period between March, 1957 and March, 1958. it was observed by him that the values of the most of the parameters decreased during rainy season while no marked variation was observed during winters and summers. A year later Saxena (1966) made a systematic survey of the chemical quantity of Ganga at Kanpur. According to the study, the biological oxygen demand, i.e. B.O.D. varied from 5.3ppm (minimum) in winter to 16.0ppm (maximum) in summer. The chloride ranged between 9.2 and 12.7 ppm and the river was found to be alkaline in nature except in rainy season. He concluded that the tanneries significantly increased the pollution load of river as they discharge huge amounts of effluents containing organic wastes and heavy metals. It was further reported that forty five tanneries, ten textile mills and several other industrial units discharged 37.15 million gallon per day of waste water generating BOD load of approximately 61630 Kg/day. At the 1981 session of Indian Science Congress at Varanasi, scientists expressed concern at the growing pollution in the river Ganga in presence of the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi who inaugurated the session. At her instance, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the then member, Planning Commission asked the Central Board for Preventation and Control of Water Pollution, New Delhi to conduct studies on the state of the river Ganga. In collaboration with the State Pollution Control Boards of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal and the centre for study of Man and Environment Kolkata (Calcutta), studies were conducted on the ‘Sources’ of pollution including all human activities, land use pattern and water quality of the river at selected sites during 1981-82 and report entitled “Basin, sub-basin inventory of water pollution in the Ganga basin part-II” was published in 1984. According to this report sewage of 27 class I cities and towns and effluents from 137 major industries were the main source of pollution of the river. In addition cremation of ad human bodies and dumping of carcasses aggrevated the pollution of the river. It was Chandra (1981) who conducted studies on the pollution status of river Ganga at Allahabad, pointed out that industries manufacturing nitrogenous fertilizers have significant role in polluting the river water. 7 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  9. 9. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 According to the report published in a book by Mr. U.K. Sinha (1986), the concentration of iron is higher in sediments collected from 10 metres along the bank at Mandiri region. The concentration of all the toxic metals i.e copper, zinc, nickel and cobalt are higher in all the sediments collected from near the storm drain and diminishes towards mid-region of the river. The concentration of zinc is highest in the sediments collected from near the Mandiri storm drain, Antaghat storm drain and Krishnaghat storm drain. The concentration of copper is highest in the sediments collected from near the Krishnaghat storm drain suggesting the presence copper due to utensil work being done in Thatheri Bazar and hospital wastes also, said report. The chemical pollution of the river Ganga in Patna city in Bihar state has been found somewhat alarming beside the storm drain, especially in the regions like Rajapur, Mandiri and Krishnaghat. Present Situation For some time now, this romantic view of the Ganges has collided with India's grim realities. During the past three decades, the country's explosive growth (at nearly 1.2 billion people, India's population is second only to China's), industrialization and rapid urbanization have put unyielding pressure on the sacred stream. Ganga, the most sacred of rivers for Hindus, has become polluted for some years now. But a recent study by Uttarakhand Environment Conservation and Pollution Control Board says that the level of pollution in the holy river has reached alarming proportions. Things have come to such a pass that the Ganga water is at present not fit just for drinking and bathing but has become unusable even for agricultural purposes. As per the UECPCB study, while the level of coliform present in water should be below 50 for drinking purposes, less than 500 for bathing and below 5000 for agricultural use— the present level of coliform in Ganga at Haridwar has reached 5500. Based on the level of coliform, dissolved oxygen and biochemical oxygen, the study put the water in A, B, C and D categories. While A category is considered fit for drinking, B for bathing, C for agriculture and D is for excessive pollution level. Since the Ganga waters at Haridwar have more than 5000 coliform and even the level of dissolved oxygen and biochemical oxygen doesn't conform the prescribed standards, it has been put in the D category. According to the study, the main cause of high level of coliform in Ganga is due to disposal of human faeces, urine and sewage directly into the river from its starting point in Gaumukh till it reaches Haridwar via Rishikesh. 8 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  10. 10. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 Nearly 89 million litres of sewage is daily disposed into Ganga from the 12 municipal towns that fall along its route till Haridwar. The amount of sewage disposed into the river increases during the Char Dham Yatra season when nearly 15 lakh pilgrims visit the state between May and October each year. Apart from sewage disposal of half-burnt human bodies at Haridwar and hazardous medical waste from the base hospital at Srinagar due to absence of an incinerator are also adding to pollution levels in the Ganga. The result has been the gradual killing of one of India's most treasured resources. One stretch of the Yamuna River, the Ganges' main tributary, has been devoid of all aquatic creatures for at least a decade. In Varanasi, India's most sacred city, the coliform bacterial count is at least 3,000 times higher than the standard established as safe by the United Nations world Health Organization. Coliform are rod-shaped bacteria that are normally found in the colons of humans and animals and become a serious contaminant when found in the food or water supply. A study by Environmental Biology Laboratory, Department pf Zoology, Patna University, showed the presence of mercury in the Ganga river in Varanasi city. According to the study, annual mean concentration of mercury in the river water was 0.00023 ppm. The concentration ranged from NT (not traceable) to 0.00191 ppm. Study done by Indian Toxicological Research Centre (ITRC), Lucknow during 19861992 showed maximum annual concentration of mercury in the Ganga river water at Rishikesh, Allahabad district and Dakshineswar as 0.081, 0.043 and 0.012 ppb respectively. Ganga river at Varanasi was found well within the maximum permissible standard of 0.001 ppm prescribed for drinking water by the World Health Organization. The mercury studied in the Ganga river could be traced in biotic as well as abiotic components of the river at the study site. The Hindu devotees take bath in the river where mercury was detected in 28%, 44%,75%, 96%, 42% and 89% of the river water, sediment, benthic fauna, fish, soil and vegetation samples respectively. Though mercury contamination of the river water has not reached an alarming extent, its presence in the river system is worrisome. In the study annual mean concentration of the metal in the sediments was 0.067 ppm. Sediments constitute a major pool of mercury in fresh water. 9 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  11. 11. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 As Ganga enters the Varanasi city, Hinduism’s sacred river contains 60,000 faecal coliform bacteria per 100 millilitres, 120 times more than is considered safe for bathing. Four miles downstream, with inputs from 24 gushing sewers and 60,000 pilgrim-bathers, the concentration is 3,000 times over the safety limit. In places, the Ganges becomes black and septic. Corpses, of semi-cremated adults or enshrouded babies, drift slowly by. The tannery industry mushrooming in North India has converted the Ganga River into a dumping ground. The tanning industry discharges different types of waste into the environment, primarily in the form of liquid effluents containing organic matters, chromium, sulphide ammonium and other salts. As per an estimate, about 80-90% of the tanneries use chromium as a tanning agent. Of this, the hides take up only 5070%, while the rest is discharged as effluent. Pollution becomes acute when tanneries are concentrated in clusters in small area like Kanpur. Consequently, the Leather-tanning sector is included in the Red category of industries due to the potential adverse environmental impact caused by tannery wastes. Highly polluted sediments are adversely affecting the ecological functioning of rivers due to heavy metal mobilization from urban areas into biosphere. Distribution of heavy metals in sediments of the river Ganga and its tributaries have been carried out by several workers. Monitoring of Ganga River from Rishikesh to Varanasi indicated that Kannauj to Kanpur and Varanasi are the most polluted stretches of the river Ganga . Analysis of upstream and down stream water and sediment revealed a 10-fold increase in chromium level. 10 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  12. 12. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 Cleaning efforts Ganga Action Plan (GAP) The Ganga Action Plan or GAP was a program launched in April 1986 in order to reduce the pollution load on the river. But the efforts to decrease the pollution level in the river became more after spending Rs 901.71 Crore Therefore, this plan was withdrawn on 31 March 2000. The steering Committee of the National River Conservation Authority reviewed the progress of the GAP and necessary correction on the basis of lessons learned and experiences gained from the GAP phase; 2 schemes have been completed under this plan. A million litres of sewage is targeted to be intercepted, diverted and treated. Phase-II of the program was approved in stages from 1993 onwards, and included the following tributaries of the Ganges: Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar and Mahananda. As of 2011, it is currently under implementation. Scientists and religious leaders have speculated on the causes of the river's apparent self-purification effect, in which water-borne bacteria such as dysentery and cholera are killed off thus preventing large-scale epidemics. Some studies have reported that the river retains more oxygen than is typical for comparable rivers; this could be a factor leading to fewer disease agents being present in the water. National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA) NRGBA was established by the Central Government of India, on 20 February 2009 under Section 3(3) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It also declared Ganges as the "National River" of India. The chair includes the Prime Minister of India and Chief ministers of states through which the Ganges flows. Supreme Court of India The Supreme Court has been working on the closure and relocation of many of the industrial plants like tulsi along the Ganges and in 2010 the government declared the stretch of river between Gaumukh and Uttarkashi an “eco-sensitive zone”. 11 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  13. 13. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 Conclusions and Lessons learnt Poor resource recovery due to poor resource generation because of the lower organic content of Indian sewage. This may be due to less nutritious dietary habits, higher water consumption, fewer sewer connections, higher grit loads, insufficient flows and stagnation leading to bio-degradation of the volatile fractions in the pipes themselves. The assumed BOD design load of the plants were, in some cases, considered much higher than the actual BOD loading. This was due to a lack of practical experience within India and the fact that western experiences were not entirely appropriate. The river pollution plan being "action" orientated, avoids involvement in long-term town planning, which continues to remain deficient with respect to environmental sanitation. This is due to a lack of overview by any stakeholding agency and to the blinkered foresight by the already beleaguered city authorities who remain perpetually short of funds for their daily crisis-management. The most important lesson learned was the need for control of pathogenic contamination in treated effluent. This could not be tackled before because of a lack of safe and suitable technology but is now being attempted through research and by developing a suitable indigenous technology, which should not impart traces of any harmful residues in the treated effluent detrimental to the aquatic life. This is an aspect difficult to control in surface waters in tropical areas, but it is very important for the Ganga because the river water is used directly by millions of devout individuals for drinking and bathing. Recommendations The Action Plans start as "cleanliness drives" and continue in the same noble spirit with the same zeal and enthusiasm on other major rivers and freshwater bodies. Its effectiveness could however be enhanced if these efforts could be integrated and well accepted within the long-term objectives and master plans of the cities, which are constantly under preparation without adequate attention to the disposal of wastes. More information on polluted groundwater resources in the respective river basins will prove useful, because the existing levels of depletion and contamination of groundwater resources, which are already overexploited and fairly contaminated, will increase the dependency in the future on the rivers, as the only economical source of drinking water. This aspect has not been seriously considered in any long-term planning. 12 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.
  14. 14. A Case Study On: The Ganga river water pollution. 2014 References:      13 Name: Shraddha Samant, Div.C, Roll no. 133.