Other than being one of the holiest rivers in India, Ganga is also known to be among the most polluted water bodies in the country. Industrial discharge and other human activities have rendered the water unfit for bathing or drinking.
However, now that the country is under lockdown and all activities have come to a halt, it is believed that River Ganga’s water quality has improved significantly.
The Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board tested the water from Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar. According to the results, the water here has been classified as ‘fit for drinking after chlorination.’ This has happened for the first time in decades.
As per a TOI report, water samples in the month of April show a 34% reduction in fecal coliform and a 20% reduction in biological oxygen demand.
The Chief Environment Officer of the UEPPCB also informed TOI that the water at Har-ki-Pauri had been ranked in Class A for the first time in several years. Since the formation of Uttarakhand in 2000, the water had always been in Class B.
Other areas including Devprayag and Kanpur have also reported improvement in the water quality.
While speaking to India Today, a priest from Kanpur stated, “Since all the factories are closed due to the lockdown, the Ganga river has become cleaner. The priests at the temple earlier used to refrain from taking a holy dip because the water was highly contaminated. However, since the past week, we are bathing in the river.”
However, although the water quality has improved now, conservationists are concerned that things could take a turn for the worse once the lockdown is over.
Maybe this is our cue to do whatever we can to conserve nature and let mother earth heal and revive.