These are the challenges facing India’s most sacred river

India

Varanasi, India (Rubén Bagüés, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.

The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.

Here are some of the challenges the river faces.

Image: © WWF / François Xavier PELLETIER

Large schools of freshwater dolphins, known as Ganges River dolphins, were once found along the river. Now they swim in small groups or alone, and have become endangered due to pollution, dams, irrigation projects and the dredging of new shipping channels.

More than 1 billion litres of raw sewage flow into the river every day. In places, the water’s bacteria count reaches 3,000 times the limit declared safe for bathing by the World Health Organization.

Plastic and industrial waste, such as waste water from the leather tanneries that sit on the banks of the Ganges, are another cause of pollution.

But perhaps the most worrying problem facing the river is its increasing lack of water. Water for irrigation is being removed faster than the rainy season can replenish it.

The Ganges is being throttled by more than 300 dams and diversions, with many more blocking its tributaries, stopping the natural ebb and flow of the river.

Climate change is making the monsoon rains unpredictable, increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events like droughts, and leaving the fishermen of the Ganges with dwindling catches.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN agency sounds alarm: Dwindling agrobiodiversity ‘severe threat’ to food security

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ericsson/Cisco partnership on track, insist execs

This is why obesity is classified as a type of malnutrition

MEPs adopted measures to reconcile work and family life

Banking Union: Non-performing loans in the EU continue to decline

Protection of transported animals: Parliament establishes inquiry committee

Meet Cipta: the comic book hero using her powers to tackle bullying in schools

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

FROM THE FIELD: Weaving profits in Azerbaijan

Urgently address ‘defining challenges of our time’, to empower youth worldwide, top UN official tells forum

Why cyber-risk should take centre stage in financial services

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

Africa is ‘on the rise’, says UN chief Guterres, urging collaboration for better future

Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

Half the population of Yemen at risk of famine: UN emergency relief chief

Trade Committee advocates lower tariffs in Western Sahara

Bill Gates’ top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2019

Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic Congo is ‘largely contained’: WHO

UN health agency to gauge global threat, as China confirms coronavirus transmission between humans

Brexit: Six more months of political paralysis or a May-Corbyn compromise?

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

Parliament endorses landmark EU-Japan free trade agreement

European Commission adopted Report on the Impact of Demographic Change in Europe

War in Syria: ‘Carnage’, flouting of rights and international law, must stop: Guterres

Why the internet is yesterday’s news in China’s digital leap forward

The European Parliament declares climate emergency

UN atomic watchdog chief updates governing body on key North Korean reactor

FROM THE FIELD: Saving the tree kangaroos of Papua New Guinea

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

ILO: Unemployment to increase by 8.1 million in 2013-2014

The European Union and Central Asia: New opportunities for a stronger partnership

Towards a European Republic

JADE @ European Business Summit 2014: Youth Unemployment – a drive to Entrepreneurship

Commission: New proposal for centrally managed bank resolution

EU-China Light Bridge in Brussels signals the bright coming of the Year of The Dog

UN Security Council ‘utterly failed’ Syrian detainees; a victim voices her plea to ‘end impunity and stop this horror’

The road ahead to building a more sustainable world

Workplace bullies could now go to jail in South Korea

The global economy is woefully unprepared for biological threats. This is what we need to do

The UN’s unyielding effort to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation: our quarterly update

Two shipwrecks add to ‘alarming increase’ in migrant deaths off Libya coast: IOM

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

Where does our food come from? Here’s why we need to know

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Vendor Pulse – 2000

Commission announces actions to make Europe’s raw materials supply more secure and sustainable

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The truth against the myths

On Youth Participation: Are we active citizens?

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

Fighting Depression In the Isolation of COVID-19

5 ways COVID-19 has disrupted our sleep

Antitrust: Commission fines hotel group Meliá €6.7 million for discriminating between customers

Lifting the lid on policy decisions across Africa

Greece will probably stay in the Eurozone but at what cost?

Celebrate love, strengthen partnerships to end AIDS epidemic by 2030 says UN agency

The 28 EU leaders unable to start a relevant debate on migration and Brexit

vSudan: UN chief calls for ‘positive momentum’ as civilian rule talks stall between military and opposition

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s