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7 Most Polluted Holy Rivers in India, No.7 Is So Toxic It Doesn't Even Support Plant Life!

Apr 26, 2017

How many of you consider it pure to take a dip in the holy Ganges or the Yamuna? Sure, it feels spiritually refreshing. But are you aware of the major pollutants in these holy rivers? The rivers of India are one of the main sources of livelihood for its people. They’re considered holy for being one of the major foundations of life.

But even though rivers are worshipped throughout India, it doesn’t stop people from polluting it. Discharge of industrial effluents, washing and bathing livestock, dumping carcases and corpses are some of the practices that have been polluting our rivers. It will continue to happen if proper measures have no effect.

Humans aren’t the only species dependent on rivers for sustenance. Marine animals and plants are equally dependent on the river water as well.

Let us tell you about the 7 most polluted holy rivers of India, and then you can decide whether taking a dip in these waters is worth it or not.

1. Ganga

The Ganges is considered the most sacred river in India. It originates at Gaumukh in the Himalayas and is the longest river. It flows through cities like Haridwar, Varanasi, Kolkata, and Patna. It’s been found that Varanasi is responsible for about 25% of the pollution of river Ganga. Various measures are being adopted to clean the holy river. The Allahabad High Court ordered the closure of all industrial units near the banks of the river to save it from industrial waste.

2. Damodar

River Damodar is known as the ‘Sorrow of Bengal, ’ and it’s worshipped by the tribes across the Chota Nagpur plateau. Due to extensive coal mining and vigorous growth of industries in the area, the river has a contamination level. The sacred river now looks like a sewage canal filled with filthy elements and nasty odours. The water isn’t fit for drinking and has become a breeding ground for diseases like malaria and other water-borne diseases. Some measures have been taken to disinfect and purify the water. However, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the future to improve the condition of Damodar.

3. Bagmati

It runs through the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal and is considered holy by both Hindus and Buddhists. This river is highly polluted. It originates in Shivpuri-Bagdwar and is now the means to carry liquid waste that’s deposited along its stretches. Industrial waste is one of the major reasons behind the pollution of this river.

4. Mahi

Mahi river is also one of the sacred rivers that flow into the Gulf of Khambat. Due to pollution and high salinity levels, it’s unsafe for humans and animals. There’s intrusion of saline water from the sea into the river, and there’s no surface flow to push the seawater back. It’s lead to the pollution of groundwater in many areas.

5. Chambal and Betwa

For several years, these two rivers of Central India have been struggling with pollution. They are important sub-tributaries of Yamuna. The fluoride contamination in the rivers is so bad that it has affected the people of over 12 villages in the Unnao district of U.P. The pollution is on the increase due to textile and dye mills present near the rivers.

6.  Gomti

Gomti River is an important tributary of Ganga. It is one of the holiest rivers in India, and it’s believed that taking a bath in its waters on Ekadashi can wash away all sins. The river flows through major cities like Lucknow, Sultanpur, and Jaunpur. Industrial and domestic wastes have polluted the river to the extent that even the sewerage treatment plant failed in its objective.

7. Yamuna

One of the holiest and the most polluted river in India is the Yamuna. It receives almost 60% of untreated domestic waste, ash, chemicals, and industrial effluents. The water is unsafe for drinking, and it has no scope for sustaining any marine life. Since the plants also cannot survive in its water, the river has lost its self-cleaning properties.

Taking a dip in the ‘holy water’ doesn’t seem a good idea anymore, isn’t it? While the government needs to take serious actions to get these rivers back to normal, as a citizen, you must also make small efforts to ensure that you don’t pollute the rivers or other water bodies in and around your area. Your tap water comes from these sources, and if you contaminate them, the problem of water scarcity will get worse.

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