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Foreigners lending help to clean Ganga during Mahakumbh
Katrina Iyez is an US citizen who has come to northern Indian city Allahabad to attend Mahakumbh, the religious festival, which occurs once in twelve years.

Not only Iyez, there are scores of many other foreigners who have been lured to this religious city to attend Mahakumbh. Some have come on their own and some have accompanied their Indian spiritual gurus to this city to take a holy dip in river Ganges along with whose bank the city is located.

The foreign devotees attired in saffron color are not only taking a holy dip into the Ganges but they are also participating in various cleanliness drives along the bank of the river. Lakhs of people have thronged to Allahabad from across the nation and the world. And with them tonnes of flowers, and coconut are being flown into the river Ganges in the name of offerings.

Every morning, foreigners are carrying out a cleanliness campaign along side the river bank accompanied by their Indian friends in saffron and commoners, reported nnis.

“Ganga is the symbol of environment, a beautiful earth. We should work together to save it. We are doing it after getting inspired by our Gurus,” said Katrina Iyes.

Ganga is the national river of India. However, it has become one of the most polluted rivers due to rampant industrialization alongside its banks. The factories are discharging tonnes of untreated waste into the river. Thousands of crores of rupees is being spent in the name of making Ganges pollution free. However, the result is yet to be seen.

In 1986 Ganga Action Plan (GAP) was launched from Varanasi to clean the entire stretch of Ganga. However, according to the 'status report on river Ganga - State of Environment and Water Quality' prepared by National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD), Ministry of Environment and Forests, the fecal coliform counts exceeded the stipulated limit at Kannauj, Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi.

It is also observed that standards for coliforms are violated more frequently than for BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) and DO (Dissolved oxygen) as reported by ToI. Fecal coliform can lead to pathogenic diseases like typhoid and bacterial gastroenteritis. The presence this bacteria even makes water unfit for bathing.

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