Monday March 25, 2019

World Water Day special: India’s holy river Ganga awaits a clean future

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By Rituparna Chakrobarty

The deep grief of India’s holy river Ganga (Ganges) remains unsound. The river that flows through the industrial cities of Kanpur and Kashi (Varanasi) in Uttar Pradesh is presently being treated as a natural sewer.

The condition of the river is pitiable in the city with the Ganga, in both the cities, strewn with human corpses and animal carcasses, as well as non-biodegradable trash such as poly bags, plastic bottles and worship materials like flowers, clay idols, accounts books and so on.

To add on, open defecation in the river makes the people solely responsible for it. The wallowing cattle, clothes washing, detergent usage for various purposes are some of the most common sights at the ghats. A gradual decline has been seen in the population of fishes and turtles inhabiting the river. The once-flourishing river has been declared “dead”, with no aquatic life. As for those who survive, they struggle to survive with toxic elements inside their bodies, and are not fit for human consumption as well. The river water has also caused severe health problems in both the cities of North India. Additionally, people in Varanasi can be seen polluting the river while following religious rituals.

The condition of Ganga is worsening in Kanpur due to the repulsive odour of the river. As a result, tourists avoid taking boat rides, thereby severely affecting the livelihoods of the poor working there.

However, tourists in Kashi take boat rides to taste the elegance that the city is known for. While some of the boats are manually operated, many others are operated by motor. The latter uses diesel as fuel that contributes in the city’s air, water and noise pollution.

According to a WHO report, Kanpur is the 9th most polluted city in the world. There are 23 open drains that are directly and indirectly streaming their wastes and effluents into the Ganga. Kanpur has roughly 6,500 industries including large and small-scale which deal with fertilizers, paints, chemical and detergents and throw the untreated water directly into the river. Out of these, there are 350 tanneries that also merge dirt and waste water into the river. These tanneries are largely responsible for disturbing the ecology of the water and polluting it, creating a threat to the downstream villages.

According to the norm, factories have to create a primary sewage treatment plant in their premises before dispatching water into the river for secondary treatments at sewage treatment plants. One thing to note is that the city proposed a 171 mld sewage treatment plant and it is generating 500 mld sewage every day. Only 9 mld sewage treatment plant is authorized for tanneries, but it discharges only 50 mld. Rest of the sewage directly flows into the river.

A number of proposals have been made for the cleanliness drive at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency for the campaign to clean river Ganga. But the ground realities remain completely adverse – two sewage treatment plants combined together posses the capacity of 100.5 mld, while the city produces 350 mld waste regularly. The amount of water treated is not clear.

Uma bharti, Union Water Resources Minister, assured that it will be cleaned in a “qualitative manner” within the next two years. The state government also ensured that it will support the schemes initiated by the central government.

Whether or not the promises are fulfilled, one of India’s most ancient rivers awaits a sparkling existence, with every government.

Next Story

India to Launch Electronic Intelligence Satellite Soon

In January, the space agency launched a defence imaging satellite Microsat R for the DRDO

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TESS, rover, NASA, mercuryKeplar, NASA
TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is shown in this conceptual illustration obtained by Reuters on March 28, 2018. NASA sent TESS into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. VOA

India on April 1 will launch an electronic intelligence satellite Emisat for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) along with 28 third party satellites and also demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of PSLV rocket, ISRO said on Saturday.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a new variant of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket will first put the 436 kg Emisat into a 749 km orbit.

After that, the rocket will be brought down to put into orbit the 28 satellites at an altitude of 504 km.

This will be followed by bringing the rocket down further to 485 km when the fourth stage/engine will turn into a payload platform carrying three experimental payloads: (a) Automatic Identification System (AIS) from ISRO for Maritime satellite applications capturing messages transmitted from ships (b) Automatic Packet Repeating System (APRS) from AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation), India – to assist amateur radio operators in tracking and monitoring position data and (c) Advanced Retarding Potential Analyser for Ionospheric Studies (ARIS) from Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) – for the structural and compositional studies of ionosphere, the space agency said.

The whole flight sequence will take about 180 minutes from the rocket’s lift off slated at 9.30 a.m. on April 1.

The 28 international customer satellites (24 from US, 2 from Lithuania and one each from Spain and Switzerland)- will weigh about 220 kg.

OSIRIS-REx, NASA, Asteroid bennu
Satellite To Conduct Biological Experiments In Space, Plans Space Kidz India. VOA

“It is a special mission for us. We will be using a PSLV rocket with four strap-on motors. Further, for the first time we will be trying to orbit the rocket at three different altitudes,” ISRO Chairman K. Sivan had earlier told IANS.

The PSLV is a four-stage engine expendable rocket with alternating solid and liquid fuel.

In its normal configuration, the rocket will have six strap-on motors hugging the rocket’s first stage.

On January 24, the ISRO flew a PSLV with two strap-on motors while in March, it had four strap-on motors.

The Indian space agency also has two more PSLV variants, viz Core Alone (without any strap-on motors) and the larger PSLV-XL.

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The ISRO selects the kind of rocket to be used based on the weight of satellites it carries.

The ISRO will also be launching two more defence satellites sometime in July or August with its new rocket Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

In January, the space agency launched a defence imaging satellite Microsat R for the DRDO. (IANS)