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CA Dr Sunil Gupta
Indian Rivers- Rescuers or eradicators 17 July, 2014
Were you familiar with the fact that eighty percent of the sewage remains untreated and flows directly into the rivers? Out of 40000 million litres of sewage produced every day, only 20 percent is treated as per the report of Centre for Science and Environment. Subsequently, this untreated waste seeps into the groundwater, thereby adding to the susceptibility of public health towards disorder.

Shockingly, only 160 towns out of 8000 have both sewerage system as well as a sewage treatment plant, the report reveals. Tests conducted by laboratories expose the fact that in almost whole of India the nitrate level is way higher than the recommended level.'

Why the sacred rivers of India are on the verge of becoming eradicator rather than rescuer of the mankind is not a tough question to answer. Factors liable for the disastrous conditions are unjustifiably growing population of India, industrialization, urbanization, wrong agricultural practices, and to some extent, our religious and social norms. 

Having augmented five-fold in the twentieth century, our population has multiplied the content of waste which is disposed-off in our rivers. It is a disgraceful fact that the UNO has categorized India as one of the nations with poor water quality. 85 percent of diseases are associated with unfortunate water standards.

The rate of urbanization augmented from 10.8 percent in 1991 to as high as 28.5 percent in 2001. This unplanned move has added to the content of waste water, sewage, and solid/ domestic waste that is passed into the rivers, which further boosts the ever-high burden. 

Though we feel proud of being a resident of the posh areas we live in, have we ever cared about the waste that we produce not just naturally, but also artificially (use of polythene bags, and improper dumping of discarded items)? Indeed, municipal corporations of cities located at the banks of rivers allow usage of rivers as dumping yards for sewage as well as trade effluent.

Be it the chemical, pharmaceutical, and leather industry or metal plating and dye industry, the untreated effluent is passed into rivers, which has resulted in a milieu wherein the report of 1994 revealed that owing to high bacteriological and metallic contamination water of almost every industrialized zone is unfit for drinking purposes. 

The fact that the water of river Damodar has been acknowledged as unhealthy even for consumption by non-human creatures exposes the extent up to which our rivers have been damaged. Inapt agricultural methods, too, add to this concern by disseminating animal wastes, pesticides, and crop wastes in rivers.

Though our centuries-old religious norms back our actuality, pollution of our sacred rivers as an outcome of our social practices is not unknown. Cremation of dead bodies on river bank, dipping of idols in rivers and lakes, bathing by the mass on distinct ceremonial events, and disposal of domestic wastes and carcasses of animals are everyday events that are fairly responsible for the prevailing level of river pollution.

Indians may be recognized as people who consider rivers as Goddess;however the unjustifiable rituals followed by us are not just harming the rivers, they in fact are creating a severe concern for the upcoming days.

The new government at the Center with Mr. Modi as the head seems to be alert and thoughtful enough about the alarming condition. Having promised cleaner and recovered Ganga, the Prime Minister has certainly diverted our much-needed attention towards this misfortune. 

The Budget as announced by the FM, Mr. Arun Jaitely sets aside INR 2037 crore to clean the river Ganga. Along with such allocations, the government will also need to pay proper heed to the underlying factors responsible for river pollution as discussed above so as to make sure that the revenues of the government are not persistently wasted on river cleaning programmes.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
A Chartered Accountant by profession and Director on the board of Punjab National Bank (PNB), General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) and Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC). Dr. Sunil Gupta is working flawlessly for the economic and social prosperity of India. His Linkedin and twitter handles are @cadrsunilgupta. Facebook page is CADrSunil.
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