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Legislation to change water usage under works, says Uma Bharti

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Uma-Bharti

By NewsGram Staff Writer

The government, may soon, consider bringing a legislation to restrict the usage of river water and ground water for drinking purpose only, according to Union Minister Uma Bharati.

While river water and ground water could be used for drinking, the treated and rainwater could be used for other purposes.

The water resources minister who is also responsible for river development and Ganga rejuvenation, made the disclosure while inspecting 12 major drains falling into the Ganga river near Haridwar and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.

“I will visit drains falling into Ganga, Yamuna and their tributaries four days in a week to expedite the Ganga conservation plan,” Bharti told media persons here.

The minister also highlighted that the State governments would be consulted before bringing the legislation.

“It is my endeavour to complete most of the major tasks related to Ganga conservation in the next four years”, said Bharti.

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Cleaning of Ganga is not impossible, but it is very difficult.

The holy river is also one of the most polluted river

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Ganga in Haridwar
A pile of garbage lies on the riverbank along the Ganges riverfront known as "Har ki Pauri," the most sacred spot in the Hindu holy town of Haridwar where devotees throng. VOA

– Saket Suman

About five years ago, when Financial Times journalist and author Victor Mallet began living in Delhi, he was shocked to discover that the Yamuna — “this beautiful river of Indian legend and art” — was chocked with untreated sewage and industrial waste after it had passed through the city on its way to Mathura, Agra and on to join the Ganga at Allahabad He wondered “how a river so sacred to so many Indians could also be so polluted and neglected” and then set out to record the plight of the Ganga.

His exhaustive journey led him to various key locations on the river, including its source at Gaumukh and Sagar Island and the Sunderbans at its mouth in the Bay of Bengal. This culminated in the publication of “River of Life, River of Death” (Oxford University Press/Rs 550/316 pages).

“My conclusion is that it is not impossible (to clean the Ganga) — but it is very difficult. Narendra Modi is the latest of several Indian prime ministers to announce plans to rescue the Ganga — in fact, I would say he has been the most fervent — but like his predecessors, he has struggled to implement these plans despite the availability of funds from India itself and from international donors such as the World Bank and Japan.

“Clearly, the Ganga has enormous problems of physical pollution from sewage, industrial toxins and pesticide run-off. Too much of the water is diverted for irrigation in the dry season, which can leave parts of the river without water before the monsoon. But with political will and public support — I don’t think anyone in India objects to saving the river — it can be done,” Mallet told IANS in an email interview from Hong Kong.

The important thing, he maintained, is to change mindsets and he noted in this context that it is quite common among devout Hindus to say: “Ma Ganga is so spiritually pure that nothing we throw in the river will sully her or make a difference.”

The author said that sensible holy men and environmentalists who care for the Ganga term this as nonsense — and the reason it’s not true is that the Ganga’s very spiritual power arises from its physical properties as a life-giver, as a provider of water and fertility.

“That’s why rivers have always been worshipped in ancient times, including in England. So if you destroy the river’s life-giving qualities through pollution, you destroy the source of her spiritual importance,” he added.

In the book, he also states that it is not impossible to clean the Ganges, “as river clean-ups in Europe and America have shown”.

Elaborating on this, he said: “When I was a child living in London, my mother always told me not to fall in the Thames because the river was so filthy that if I fell in I would have to go to hospital and have my stomach pumped! Yet today the Thames is clean — muddy, but virtually free of industrial pollution and untreated sewage — because successive governments and water and sanitation companies have stopped the pollution.

“The same is true of the Rhine in continental Europe and the Chicago river in the United States. The great thing about rivers is that you don’t have to scrub them clean — you just have to stop polluting them and the natural flow of the river does the rest.”

Mallet maintained that the record on the Ganga has so far been disappointing in terms of implementation, but hoped that there will be a change now that there is a new minister in charge.

“If you clean the Ganga by improving sanitation, you not only save the goddess, you also create thousands of jobs in infrastructure development, and save the lives of thousands of children who die each year because of bad water, poor hygiene and stomach bugs. Likewise, if India curbs its greenhouse gases — and this seems to be happening anyway because alternative energy such as solar power is now very competitive on price — then that will also help it to reduce the kind of air pollution that has recently been afflicting Delhi and the whole of North India,” he maintained.

Mallet went on to add that he learnt a lot about the mythology and the history of the river — and the history of India — in the course of his research for the book.

“In a way, India is so rich in civilisations and stories that you can never say you have completed your work as a researcher and writer. You can at least make a start, and also explain the contemporary political, social, religious and environmental issues that affect the river and the country as a whole,” Mallet said. (IANS)

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Rishikesh: The World Capital of Yoga is in India

Many tourists visit Rishikesh every year in search of attaining peace and spirituality

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Rishikesh
Ganges River at Rishikesh. Wikimedia

Aug 12, 2017: Rishikesh, also known to be a holy city is a perfect destination to endeavor spirituality. It is one of the most sacred places in the country and what’s enticing about this destination is its unique charm and religious culture.

[bctt tweet=”Rishikesh is the mother ground for Ayurveda and yoga, not to forget it is being called as “The World Capital of Yoga”” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

It is also perceived as a medium to attain moksha while practicing yoga in the embrace of nature in Rishikesh. Many tourists visit here every year in search of attaining peace and spirituality.

Places to visit in Rishikesh: 

  • Lakshman Jhoola
Rishikesh
Ram jhoola bridge over Ganga river. Wikimedia Commons

 It is a famous milestone in Rishikesh which is 450 ft length and connects two districts via the iron bridge over holy river Ganga at Rishikesh. This one is worth a watch!

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  • Ganga Aarti
A night arti click of holly river name as Ganga. Wikimedia Commons

The sight of Ganga Aarti is breathtaking and phenomenal as the holy river Ganga is worshipped at various Ghats. Ganga Aarti is also the heart of Rishikesh.

  • Neelkanth
The photo is of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple near Rishikesh. Wikimedia Commons

Neelkanth is a holy temple of lord Shiva surmounted at the height of 1300 meters. The temple located 32 km far from Rishikesh, is known to be the sacred place where Lord Shiva consumed poison and placed it in his throat at the time of Samudra Manthan.

  • Triveni Ghat
Triveni Ghat view at Rishikesh. Wikimedia Commons

Triveni Ghat is a sacred ghat popular for glimpsing Ganga Arti. Triveni has a spiritual whiff and outlasting ambiance.

Also Read: Yoga empowers People to take control of their Lives and achieve Better Health: UN forum 

  • Parmarth Niketan
Morning Yoga class at Parmarth Niketan, Muni Ki Reti. Wikimedia Commons

It is one of the top yoga centers in the country. Many tourists visit this place for spiritual healing, music therapy, exercises. The ashram is open to all irrespective of the race, color, gender, and religion. It also offers over 1000 rooms equipped with all the modern facilities.

  • Byasi
Village near Haridwar. Wikimedia Commons

Byasi is a village situated on the outskirts of the river Ganga popularly known for adventurous water sport because of the constant flow of river Ganga.

  • Muni ki Reti
Ghats on the Ganges near Parmarth Niketan, Muni Ki Reti. Wikimedia Commons

Muni ki Reti is another known pilgrimage for meditation and yoga. It has a literary meaning “sand of sages”, denoted as a place where sages used to mediate during archaic times.

There is nothing as serene as connecting with the tranquility of Holy River and pilgrimage of Rishikesh to devise spirituality.


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Swiss Researchers’ Envirobot Slithers through Waterways to Detect Pollution and Toxins

Envirobot appears as a water snake but is actually a collection of little segments, all doing different jobs

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Envirobot
Envirobot helps in detecting water pollution. Pixabay
  • Envirobot, the latest biomimetic fabrication by Swiss researchers, appears as a water snake
  • Its job when fully developed will be to guard water bodies looking for pollution and toxins
  • Envirobot is better than conventional propeller-driven underwater robots as it is less likely to get in branches and algae when they move around

Switzerland, August 6, 2017: As per the Pacific Institute, more than 2 million tons of a wide range of waste is pumped into the world’s waters each day. Researchers have become great at recognizing it, however not very great at finding the source of pollution. However, Envirobot, the latest biomimetic fabrication by Swiss researchers, provides a solution.

It appears as a water snake but is actually a collection of little segments, all doing different jobs. They are taking it on a test drive around bodies of water in search of toxins and other substances which can harm aquatic animals in order to take control of water pollution.

ALSO READ: Human hair holds the key to solving water pollution

 The segments of Envirobot are identical so that the joint can oscillate in water. The head coordinates the motion of different segments in order to create a serpentine pattern which propels the whole robot. Its job when fully developed will be to guard water bodies on its own looking for pollution and toxins.
It can also send data to computers in real time as it swims. Its tiny chambers get filled with water as the robot swims through water. Envirobot is more efficient and accurate as it can collect water from multiple spots in a lake or river. It will be used as a measure to detect metals as they can harm people and aquatic life.

Instead of having a measurement station somewhere or going out to take a sample and bringing it back to the lab, the robot will actually slither in water bodies and measure a number of water quality parameters in real time. Envirobot is better than conventional propeller-driven underwater robots as it is less likely to get in branches and algae when they move around.

Each segment of the Envirobot is unique so as to enable it to perform all kinds of water tests at the same time. For instance one segment measures very general quality parameters like temperature, conductivity, pH, oxygen level, so as to say whether water quality is good or not. Other segments carry bacteria, fish cells and even tiny water fleas that can react to toxins and insecticides in the water body.

The researchers’ ultimate goal is to create a full-time autonomous pollution sniffing robot and prevention of water pollution. What they are yet to achieve is to enable the Envirobot to by itself locate the source of the pollution. This will help to measure and decide where to go next which is a very challenging project. Given the amount of waste that is being dumped or pumped into the world’s waterways, it is a very worthy goal.

– prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025