Beautiful Ganga - does not Exist
The Ganges-Brahmaputra delta is the largest delta in the world and the rivers
contribute one-third of the global sediment transport to the world oceans.
The rivers flow through 10 per cent global population and carry untreated
rural, urban, municipal, and industrial wastes to the Bay of Bengal.
India ranking the tenth largest industrial country of the world but
most industrial plants use outdated and polluting technologies. The
river Ganges flows through more than 700 cities and about 120 million
litres of waste water added daily. DDT factories, tanneries, paper and
pulp mills, petrochemicals and fertiliser complexes, rubber factories
and host of others use river to get rid of their waste. 70 per cenr
of surface water in India is polluted. About 6,000 large and medium
industries and 24,000 small industries are operating in Bangladesh discharge
untreated effluents (10 to 100 times the allowable levels permissible
for human health) directly to the rivers without any regard to environment.
All of Bangladesh's sewage is flushed directly into Ganges and Brahmaputra
Rivers. Increase chemical based agriculture and destruction of natural
environments due to structural measures in this subcontinnent pose the
greatest threat of surface and ground water contamination. A rapid disappearnce
of forests, coastal mangrove forests and wetlands is increasingly lacking
in natural purification of polluted waters. The point and non-point
sources of surface water pollution are creating chemical and biological
contamination, channel contamination and basin contamination and the
existing management efforts are incapable to meet the problems.
The environmental policies in Bangladesh Governments plans and priorities
are conspicuous by their absence and where they exist they are inadequate,
outdated or unforceful. While the Government's proposed industrial pollution
regulation is sensible, its implementation will require considerable
technical and corruption-free management. It will take decades for controlling
the proposed act. The development projects in this region benefit only
region requires pollution prevention and conservation of natural environments,
cheaper technology for effluent treatment and social change for a sustainable
development. The Ganges-Brahmaputra Rivers transport annually 2.9 billion
tonnes of nutrient rich sediments to the Bay of Bengal and there is
no effort in the country to utilize this unique natural gift. Bangladesh
urgently needs to develop improve farming techniques for traditional
varieties under regulated flash of annual nutrient-rich flood waters
in the agricultural land and reducing reliance on chemicals.Social changes
are required in ist value-systems. If the society of North and South
does not want to see, feel, and act according to global and regional
reality, our blue planet will not survive
2. THE STATE OF THE RIVERS
2.1 INDUSTRIAL, MUNICIPAL AND URBAN WASTES
2. 1. 1. Buriganga River
2. 1. 2. Sitalakhya River
2. 1. 3. Balu River
2. 1. 5. Karnaphuli River
3. POLLUTION FROM AGRICULTURE
3. 1. Agriculture
4. Who will save the Ganga?
5. DISCUSSION: MANAGEMENT - BEYOND CONTROL
6. Songs on Ganges Padma
The Ganges originates
from the Gangotri glacier in the Himalayas at the elevation of 7,010 meter
where the length of the main river is about 2,550 km, the catchment area
is about 1,087,300 sq. km. and in Bangladesh lies 46, 300 sq. km. The
Brahmaputra river rises south of the Lake Konggyu Tsho in Tibet (China)
and has a total catchment area of 552,000 sq. km. lying in China (270,990
sq. km.), Bhutan (847,000 sq. km.), India (195,000 sq. km.) and Bangladesh
(39,100 sq. km), (Fig.: 1). The Ganges-Brahmaputra- Meghna river system
carries over 2.9 billion tonnes sediments (one third of global sediment
transport to the world ocean, Milman et al., 1983) into the Bay of Bengal.
Thousands of years of civilisation flourished along the Ganges-Brahmaputra
rivers. The ancient Indians considered that the force behind flowing water
was a god. Mother Ganges or "Ganga Mai" was originally a water
of goddess worshipped by the non-Aryans. Darian describes :
No river has kindled
Man's Imagination like the Ganges.... Since Vedic times from 1000 B. C.
Indian thought has provided the elements with human counterparts. This
personification, in the form or myth, allows humans some recpurse from
the otherwise malevolent forces of nature. people pray not to water but
to the life within the water.
The Ganges is 1557 miles long (2506 km)
The Ganges Valley, or basin, is 200 to 400 miles (322 to 644 km) wide
The river starts in an ice cave on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, some 10,300 feet (3,140 meters) above sea level.
It flows eastward and empties into the Bay of Bengal. Its mouths forms a vast delta. At the delta it is joined by the southward-flowing Brahmaputra River. Their combined delta is the largest in the world
The delta begins more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) from the Bay of Bengal and lies mostly in Bangladesh. It is largely a tangled swampland
There are two major dams on the Ganga. One at Haridwar diverts much of the Himalayan snowmelt into the Upper Ganges Canal, built by the British in 1854 to irrigate the surrounding land. This caused severe deterioration to the wateflow in the Ganga, and is a major cause for the decay of Ganga as an inland waterway
The other dam is a serious hydroelectric affair at Farakka, close to the point where the main flow of the river enters Bangladesh, and the tributary Hooghly (also known as Bhagirathi) continues in West Bengal past Calcutta. This barrage, which feeds the Hooghly branch of the river by a 26 mile long feeder canal, and its water flow management has been a long-lingering source of dispute with Bangladesh,
Sheer volume of waste - estimated at nearly 1 billion litres per day - of mostly untreated raw sewage
Also, inadequate cremation procedures contributes to a large number of partially burnt or unburnt corpses floating down the Ganga, not to mention livestock corpses
Jagannatha's collection of poems is entitled 'Ganga-Lahiri', or The Waves of Ganga. In his verses, the poet addresses the river as a mother, comforter, and supporter. A typical hymn runs as follows:
I come to you as a child to his mother.
I come as an orphan to you, moist with love.
In the Hindu tradition, reverence is shown to almost every river of the Indian subcontinent. This devotion extends all the way back to the Rig Veda, the world's earliest text, where all earthly rivers are said to have their origin in heaven. In the cosmology of the Rig Veda, the creation of the world or the process of making the world habitable is associated with the freeing of the heavenly waters by Indra, the king of gods.
I come without refuge to you, giver of sacred rest.
I come a fallen man to you, uplifter of all.
I come undone by disease to you, the perfect physician.
I come, my heart dry with thirst, to you, ocean of sweet wine.
Do with me whatever you will.
A river that inspires such outstanding and pious creative devotion must be some river indeed. Truly Ganga is a river that has been at the core of sacred Hindu lore and tradition since time immemorial. The esteem in which she is held and her consequent deification as a full-blown woman echoes the timeless ethos of Hindu wisdom:
Ganga and the Purifying Waters of Heaven
Ganga's Descent to the Earth from Heaven
Ganga as a Mother
Iconography of Ganga
Ganga and the Hindu Temple
Another important aspect in the veneration for rivers is the purifying quality of running water in general. The purity-conscious Hindu social system, in which pollution is inevitably accumulated in the course of a normal day, prescribes a bath as the simplest way to rid oneself of impurities
A particularly inspired motif is the visualization of Ganga as a mother, which is made explicit in the epithet 'Ma Ganga' (Ma meaning mother), and which undoubtedly is the most popular and endearing term used to address her.
In the cannons of Indian art, Ganga is visualized as all other major Indian goddesses are, voluptuous and beautiful. Their ample breasts and, sturdy, child bearing hips, giving adequate testimony to their fecundating powers.
Ganga's maternal aspect is seen especially in her nourishing qualities. As a mother, she nourishes the land through which she flows, making it fertile. Historically, the land along the banks of the Ganga has been intensely cultivated.
The intense devotion and love which her devotees feel for Ganga is no small measure due to the fact that she is the only accessible physical entity that flows both in the heavens and on the earth. Ganga is indeed divine grace flowing on to our material world, as is visible in the prosperity of the fertile and rich crop-yielding regions adjacent to her banks. The consequent deification of Ganga, as both a nourishing mother, and also as a guardian of the Hindu temple, is but a natural evolution, when from the depths of the human mind springs a natural ode to her benign nature, manifesting itself in all realms of artistic expression.
The Ganges particularly
Yamuna are among the most sacred rivers in India or possibly anywhere
in the world. Jawahrlal Neheru wrote:
The Ganges, above
all the rivers of India, has held India's heart captive and drawn uncounted
millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of Ganges,
from her source to the Sea, from old times to new, is the story of India's
civilisation and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great proud
cities, of the adventure of man...
rivers of this subcontinent have become the garbage of the nations. 70
per cent of surface water in is polluted (Sibert and Dutta, 1990). The
Ganges in particular is full of toxics, including decomposing bodies tossed
into it along most of its length, for example at Varanasi about 10,000
half-burned bodies are pushed into the river each year, along with 60,000
carcasses of cows, dogs and buffaloes. Calcutta dumps close to 400 million
tonnes of raw into Hooghly Estuary (Hinrichsen, 1990). The State of India's
Environment, A Citizen's Report describes:
Out of India's 3119
cities, only 209 have partial sewage facilities and eight have full facilities,
besides DDT factories, tanneries, paper and pulp mills, petrochemicals
and fertiliser complexes, rubber factories and a host of other use the
river to get rid of their wastes.
An Indian's daily
diet contain 0.27 mg of DDT and the accumulated DDT in the body tissue
of an average Indian is said to range between 12.8 and 31 parts by million
which would rank among the highest in the world (Verghese, 1990). It is
likely to have the same trend in Bangladesh.
All of Bangladesh's
sewage and industrial wastes are flushed directly into Ganges and Brahmaputra
Rivers. There are widespread fears that as the region develops in industrial
infrastructure, industrial pollution will accelerate, compounding the
problems posed by raw municipal wastes. Since 1982 industrial development
accounts 9 per cent of GDP and the Government is planning for a rapid
increase in industrial products to meet country's vast unemployment. About
900 polluting industries in Bangladesh dispose of untreated industrial
wastes directly into rivers, although the effluents contain 10 to 100
times the allowable levels permissible for human health (Ministry of Environment
and Forest, Govt. of Bangladesh, 1991).
Idol immersion increases Ganges pollution
Pollution from immersing thousands of Hindu idols in India's sacred Ganges river is threatening dolphins and other aquatic creatures such as turtles, environmentalists said Saturday.
Goddess Durga idols, lavishly coloured with synthetic paints and embellished with metal ornaments and weapons, are plunged into the Ganges every year in a ceremonial farewell at the end of a major Hindu festival, Dussehra.
"Every year, idols made of plaster of Paris, synthetic materials and (a) large amount of non-biodegradable coloured paints cause severe pollution in the Ganges," said Guddu Baba, who leads a
Immersing idols of goddess Durga, with all the accompanying synthetic decorations, has increased pollution levels in the Ganges here manifold and endangered the rare river dolphins and fish, say environmentalists.
The immersion of hundreds of idols of Durga and other Hindu deities Monday has added around 5,000 litres of paint, hundreds of kilograms of Plaster of Paris as well as toxic synthetic material into the river, according to Guddu Baba, who leads a movement to clean the river.
He said it pained him to see the brightly decorated idols and the accompanying metal ornaments and plastic weapons being ritualistically immersed in the river each year with no thought to the environment.
"It is very sad to see that no move is initiated by the administration to see that idols are not immersed in the river," Baba said.
"Polythene, plastic items and the synthetic clothing of the idols are dumped into the river, which was not the case earlier," he said.
R.K. Sinha, a reputed expert on dolphins, said immersing idols, which contain large amounts of non-biodegradable material, is bound to affect the aquatic life of the river.
"Sadly, hundreds of idols are immersed without bothering about environmental threats. The authorities should create awareness of the need to immerse the idols elsewhere to save the river from more pollution," he said.
The latest research on the Ganges reveals that not only are the rare dolphins threatened by pollution but the number of fish has also decreased. The water has become unfit for drinking.
The number of dolphins has dwindled to a few hundreds from the thousands earlier.
The Ganges has also shifted its natural course near Patna. It now flows over two kilometres away from the city thanks to the pollution (IANS, Oct 04, 2006)
With the number of pujas increasing every year, immersion in the Hooghly is polluting the river. In Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the idols of Lord Ganesha are painted with organic colours in order to avoid pollution of water. In West Bengal, idol-makers may be encouraged to use non-chemical colours. Moreover, there should be a proper guideline to not dump all unwanted elements like flowers, earthen pots and leaves in the river. With nearly 4,000 idols of different goddesses being immersed in it, the water of the Hooghly is definitely getting polluted.
(The Telegraph, Nov. 9, 2007)
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2. THE STATE OF THE RIVERS
The rivers of this sub-continent originate from the Himalayan and mass wasting is very widespread
constant faced in all parts of the Himalayan. Besides natural factors
they are aggravated by anthropogenic factors such as:
Roads built without regard for geological and ecological factors.
- loss of forest cover
- extension of agriculture onto steep slopes
- open-cast mining without environmental control
in the Himalayan region in the last few decades mainly consists in the
felling of forests, the increase export of medical plants, construction
of water works, exploration and mining of minerals, enhanced tourism,
the introduction of commercial farming together with limited urban industrial
growth in the foothills (Stone, 1993). The environmental impact due to
mining in the Himalayan region (Utter Pradesh - 4819 ha, J & K State
- 886 ha, West Bengal - 1147 ha) includes loss of production (forest,
agriculture, pasture), loss of top soil, reduction in flow of water, lowering
water tables, hazard of debris, sedimentation of streams and fire hazards
etc. (Sahini, 1992).
Between 1951 and 1976
agricultural land increased by 430,000 sq. km (15 percent of land area),
much of this through conversion of non-reserve forests which were originally
intended to meet rural fodder, fuel and timber supply. Certain groups
of plants are particularly at risk notably medical plants due to over-exploitation
by the local pharmaceutical industries (Hussain, 1983).
introduced by new roads accelerated economic transformation and population
growth in a way which had little regard or concern for ecological fragility
of the Himalayan region. Forest became denuded, roads and mines created
enormous land instabilities, the intensification of agriculture led to
soil degradation and erosion, pastures were damaged by over-exploitation
while natural courses of rivers were dammed and all these factors together
created a massive sedimentation problems. Consequently severe flooding
and subsequently followed by drought. experiences India, Nepal and Bangladesh
almost every year .
The Ganges-Brahmputra delta, the largest delta in the world suffers water pollution due to several
factors such as dense population, no sewerage, removal of natural waters,
decreasing dilution, contaminated ground water, river used for waste disposal,
no treatment of effluents and increased chemical based agriculture. The
categories of wastes create water pollution are as follows:
Most of the inorganic liquid wastes come from industry, and their dilution in large river waters
renders them harmless. Some inorganic toxic wastes can become concentrated
up the food chain to fish. Many of the pollution incidents which have
been resulted in many parts of the world in largest number of deaths and
serious injuries from water pollution have been arisen from human ingestion
of fish, or crops contaminated with heavy metals or other inorganic compounds.
Wastes when disposed of in water, bacteria and other micro-organisms combine with oxygen dissolved
in water to break them down, can be termed as "oxygen demanding"
wastes. Liquid organic wastes include sewage, many wastes from industries
(especially industries producing agricultural and tannery products) and
run-off from rains, floods and storms which picks up organic wastes from
land, before flowing into streams, rivers, lakes or seas. As concentration
of dissolved oxygen decreases, so fish and aquatic plant life suffer or
die. According to Department of Environment, Government of Bangladesh
(1988), Karnaphuli River shows following intolerable BOD values: at Kalurghat
(tannery and food processing industrial area) 800 - 12,000 ppm, at Chandragahna
(paper mill) 60 ppm. Industrial wastes also creates a very high chemical
oxygen demand (COD) ranges between 75-600 mg/l. Besides, Buriganga River
near Dhaka shows BOD between 5-75 mg/l. A wide spread of fish deaths have
occurred in these areas, and thousands of fishermen have lost their jobs.
In Damodar river, near Calcutta BOD level rises upto 30 mg/l (Rao, et
Waterborne or related pathogens:
Many pathogens (disease causing agents including bacteria, viruses and worms) are spread in water
- either through human ingestion of contaminated water or because water
provides the habitat for intermediate hosts. Outbreak of floods in Bangladesh
causes disease epidemics of dysentery and other waterborne and water-washed
diseases, as floods contaminate all available water supplies.
The surface water
contamination poses greatest threat from Industrial, Municipal and Urban
Ganges among 5 most threatened Asian rivers
Five rivers in Asia serving over 870 million people are among the most threatened in the world, as dams, water extraction and climate change all take their toll, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said yesterday.
The Yangtze, Salween-Nu, Indus, Ganges and Mekong-Lancang rivers make up half of the WWF's "top ten" most threatened river basins, which "either already suffer most grievously under the weight of these threats or are bracing for the heaviest impacts," the organisation said.
Also on the list are the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo and La Plata in Latin America, the Danube in central Europe, the Nile-Lake Victoria in Africa and the Murray-Darling in Australia.
"Nearly everybody in the world lives in a river basin and everybody has a contribution to make" to prevent further environmental damage, the director of WWF's Global Freshwater Programme Jamie Pittock told AFP.
The threats facing river basins are varied and interlinked, and require holistic policies rather than efforts that target just one aspect but can end up being counterproductive, he said.
For example, "as governments become concerned about climate change reducing water run-off, they build more dams to store more water, which then results in more water being extracted from the rivers and so builds up more ecological problems," Pittock said.
Many governments are also focusing on hydro-electric power plants as a "clean" source of energy, but this means more dams which stem water flows and kill off fish populations, he added.
The WWF report highlighted water extraction, dams, and climate change as the most wide-ranging threats that will have the most impact on people, though invasive species and pollution also pose serious problems.
This is particularly the case for China's Yangtze river basin, where decades of heavy industrialisation, damming, and huge influxes of sediment from land conversion have made it one of the world's most polluted rivers, the WWF said.
Over-fishing is the main threat facing the Mekong, while dams and infrastructure projects imperil freshwater habitats in the Salween, La Plata and Danube basins, the report added.
Pittock said it is imperative that countries and corporations address these issues, but praised work already, particularly in China.
"China certainly has big challenges, they also have the resources to provide big solutions.
"The Chinese government has been very active globally consulting with a range of experts. They haven't turned the corner on the ground yet. The policies they're putting in place have the potential to do so very soon," he said.
The WWF official warned of "dire consequences" if the situation is left unchecked, with increasing risk of conflict over access to water, as well as the spread of disease and a fall in nutrition standards.
"In many places people are not familiar with the scale of the problem ... it is critical that people are involved," he urged
(Source: Pollution, climate change blamed Afp, Geneva, The Daily Star, March 21, 2007).
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2.1 INDUSTRIAL, MUNICIPAL AND URBAN WASTES
In 1987 India exported about US $ 500 million leather. About 250 different
toxic chemicals and heavy metals like cadmium, chromium, arsenic, zinc
etc. are used by the leather industry and these wastes are disposed of
in rivers (Dittfurth and Röhring, 1987).There are about 2,000 tanneries
in India with an annual processing capacity of 500,00 tonnes of hide and
skin. Besides other toxic chemicals, annually 25,000 tonnes of chromium
salt is used and out of this 10,000 tonnes of chromium salt in the form
of Basic Chromium Sulphate is discharged into waste water streams causing
environmental pollution (Schaapman, Rajmani and Pelckmans, 1990).
The Ganges and her
tributaries flow through main industrial sites, cities and agricultural
lands of India and enter the deltaic plain of Bangladesh ). The
River Ganges flows through 700 cities in India, and about 120 million
litres of waste waters from the industries and municipalities are added
daily. The Ganges at Calcutta obtains daily 252 million gallons of liquid
wastes, and of which 77 million gallons is industrial wastes (Dept. of
Environment, Govt. of Bangladesh, 1988). The State India's Environment,
a Citizen's Report points out that of India's 3119 cities, only 209 have
partial sewage and sewage facilities and eight have full facilities. The
report further adds:
DDT factories, tanneries,
paper and pulp mills, petrochemical and fertiliser complexes, rubber factories
and a host of others use the river to get rid of their wastes from more
than 150 major factories around Calcutta ... raw sewage pours into the
river continuously from 361 outfalls.
The National Commission of Urbanisation in India reports (August, 1985):
A major feature of
our urban scene is misery and serious health hazards caused by lack of
water supply and sanitation. Almost all our urban centres, even those
which at one time had reasonably adequate water supply, are now suffering
from crippling shortage.
River Yamuna that
flows to the Ganges consider to be highly polluted. Verghese (1990) reports:
Civic and industrial pollution pose a threat to fish and other aquatic
life. Tannery discharges into the Ganges at Kanpur have resulted in toxicity
levels that are inimical to fish. Fishermen report virtual absence of
fish in certain reaches. Effluents draining into the Yamuna via the Hindon
from Ghaziabad have from time to time resulted in mass fish-kills at Okhla
in Delhi. Pollution destroys fish directly by poisoning and reducing the
oxygen content, killing fish food and affecting spawning grounds. Some
species of air-breathing fish might survive in polluted waters but bottom
dwellers find the water devoid of plankton and benthos. Persistent pollution
can cause mutation and bring about genetic changes. Arsenic, mercury,
chromium and other heavy metals pollutants are dangerous as they tend
to accumulate in fish tissues and can enter the human system through food
chain........Bandel to Budge on the Hoogly at Calcutta is yet another
badly polluted stretch.
The present economic
development increasingly widens the gap between the poor and the rich.
The limited agricultural land does not allow any further expansion along
with the fast expanding population of working age. In view of this problem
the Government of Bangladesh is planning for a rapid increase in industry,
commerce and services (55.7 per cent of GDP). At present industrial manufacturing
accounts for about 10 per cent of GDP in Bangladesh and 10 per cent of
total employment, and contributes about three-quarters of total merchandise
exports. The earliest industries in Bangladesh were based primarily on
agricultural products like jute, sugarcane, tobacco, forest raw materials,
and hides and skins. During the mid-sixties a modern industrial base emerged
as heavy industries like steel, machine tools, electric machines, diesel
plants, refineries, pharmaceutical plants and other chemical industries
were set up. From 1985 to 1990 the industrial sector achieved an average
annual rate of growth of 4.02 per cent. In recent years, the major source
of industrial growth has been in textiles, with ready-made garment manufacture
expanding from insignificance in the 1970s to the leading export earner
today. Leather tanning and brackish water shrimp farming have also expanded
rapidly and are expected to grow further.
The industrial areas in Bangladesh are situated in the midst of densely
populated regions. There are many hazardous and potentially dangerous
polluting industries situated in the cities of Bangladesh. In Dhaka at
Tejgaon area, food processing industries are situated along with chemical
and heavy metal processing industries. In Tongi a pharmaceutical industry
is situated near a pesticide producing industry. Tannery industries of
Hazaribagh also situated in a heavily populated residential area. These
examples are repeated in the cities of Chittagong, Khulna and other smaller
cities of Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh has not shown much
interest in environmental impact created by the industries, whereas government's
concern to create jobs usually meant that when a new factory is proposed
- by local, national or international business or agency - little attention
is given to the likely environmental impacts.
Surface water pollution
in Bangladesh occurs mainly by human sewage coupled with municipal garbage
and industrial effluents. Industrial discharges along with municipal and
urban wastes are creating special problems that completely destroy the
microbial-based systems of decomposition.
About 6,000 large
and medium industries and 24,000 small industries are operating in Bangladesh
which discharge effluents directly to the rivers or nearby canal or waterbed
without any regard to environment. According to the Department of Environment,
Government of Bangladesh about 903 polluting industries such as 176 tanneries,
5 paper and pulp plants, 16 sugar mills, 3 distilleries, 57 iron and steel
mills, 298 textile units, 5 fertiliser plants, 23 insecticide industries,
92 jute industries, 3 cement industries, 34 rubber and plastic industries
and 166 Pharmaceutical industries are the most polluted industries of
Bangladesh. Under the Environmental Pollution Control Ordinance of 1977
are not required to take clearance from the Government for their project
plants, permits or consent for discharge of pollutants. Other sources
of water pollution are disposal of hazardous wastes from boats and ships,
and dumping of scrap from ship breaking yeards.
So far there is no
monitoring facilities for controlling or inventorying on water qualities
of rivers of Bangladesh. The status of some polluting rivers are as follows
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HAZARIBAGH LEATHER INDUSTRY AND SLUMS IN BANGLADESH
All textile industry dispose of untreated effulent to nearby waterbody
Wastewater discharged from a textile
wet processing plant contains various
types of pollutants depending on the
type of dyes, chemicals, auxiliaries
and process used. Some of these
pollutants are considered toxic.
The parameters are: Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)
Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).
that contribute to the aquatic toxicity
of textile effluent include salt, metals,
surfactants, toxic organic chemicals,
biocides and toxic anions.
Impacts on Ecology
In the aquatic environment, dyes can
undergo bioconcentration, ionization,
abiotic oxidation, abiotic and microbial
reduction and precipitation.
dyes such as acid, direct, basic and
metal complex dyes will not volatilise
whereas, in principle, solvent, disperse,
vat and sulphur dyes have the
potential to be volatile. Sorption should
also play a major role as dyeing is a
are not important because if the dyes
survive the biological treatment
processes, it is unlikely to degrade
rapidly in the environment.
Photochemical reactions may be
important, as dyes are good adsorbers
of solar energy. Aquatic plants will not
be able to produce food by the process
As a result their life
will be endangered. Aniomic dyes
reacts with ions such as calcium and
magnesium to form insoluble salts and
thereby reduce the concentration
available for other biological reactions
2. 1. 1. Buriganga River
All industrial, municipal
(700-1100 tonnes daily) and urban wastes of Dhaka city ( population 1989
about 6.5 million and expected to grow in year 2000 to 11.1 million) are
flushed into the Buriganga River. It is estimated that total organic waste
load discharged into the river will be around 250 metric tonnes per day
(Reazuddin, 1994). The following description of Hazaribagh leather industry
explains the present status of industrial pollution in Bangladesh:
Hazaribagh Leather Industry
The annual supply
of hides and skins in Bangladesh is estimated to be about 13.95 million
square meters. Only 15-18 per cent of the total supply is needed to meet
the domestic requirements and the rest about 11.81 million square meters
remains surplus for export.
The small leather industry of Indian-subcontinent developed Indian vegetable
tanned crust over a hundred years ago to preserve the hide in the safest
way to suit Indian conditions. The development of leather processing industry
was started in Bangladesh in the late 1940s. Until mid 1960s, the leather
was dominated by vegetable tannage for supply to W. Pakistan, Iran and
Turkey. Manufacture of wet blue, the chrome tanned semiprocessed leather
started featuring in 1965. There was a rapid growth of tanning industry
in Bangladesh during 1970s and by the end of 70s. Until 1980-81, the export
from leather sector was almost 100% in the form of wet blue, the chrome
tanned semi-processed leather (Table: 1).
In 1977 the Government of Bangladesh imposed export duty on wet blue leather
so that the industry produces crust and finished leather. With the ban
on wet blue export from July, 1990, the leather industry of Bangladesh
is entering into second phase of its development, the conversion of finished
leather into further value added leather products to earn more foreign
exchange. Promotion and Protection Act of 1980 provides protection of
foreign investment in Bangladesh. There are German, Italian etc. joint
venture plants are established in Bangladesh (M/S H. H. leather Industries
Ltd, M/S BATA, M/S Lexco Ltd, M/S Apex Tannery Ltd).
The operation in tanning which give rise effluents may be categorised
into pre-tanning and post-tanning processes. Pre-tanning is employed mainly
for the removal of impurities from the raw materials. These consist largely
of protein (blood, hair, etc.) and the process chemicals employed include
salts, lime and sulphides. The tanning processes themselves are used to
alter the characteristics of skin or hide and their effluents contain
chromium and vegetable or synthetic tanning. Post-tanning process include
coloration and produce effluents typical of these addition processes;
that is, containing residues of dyestuffs or pigments and larger quantities
of auxiliary chemicals. The process chemicals employed are a variety of
inorganic and organic materials, affecting total solids, pH, COD and of
particular importance are the applicable quantities of sulphide and of
heavy metals. Hazardous chemicals for leather and dyes treatments are
Ammonium Bicarbonate, Chromic Acetate, Ethylene Glycol Monoethyl Ether,
Methylamine, o-Nitrophenol, Toulene Diamine, 2,4,5-Trichlorphenol, Zinc
Hydrosulfite, Zinc Sulfate, tert-Butylamine, Cadmium Nitrate, Cadmium
(II) Acetate, Copper(2)Nitrate, 1,4-1,8 Dichloronaphthalene, Nickel Sulphate,
o-Xylene, Zinc Nitrate etc.170 tanneries of Hazaribagh generates waste
water about 5,000 litres/100 kg of hides and skins. BKH Consulting Engineers
in 1986 reported the following characteristics of the effluents:
parameters range of variation
- pH 4 -10
- Total alkalinity as CaC03 , mg/l 185-6475
- Electrical conductivity 670-5300 (Micro-mhos/cms)
- Chloride, mg/l 175-18000
- Chromium, mg/l 3-28000
- COD, mg/l 120-9600
- Ammonia nitrogen, mg/l 12-1970
Tubewells for drinking
water adjacent to the down-gradient from the Hazaribagh industrial area
is highly polluted.
For example Chromic Acetate shows the following characteristics (Sax,
Degree of Hazard to Public Health:
- Potential for Accumulation: Positive
- Food Chain Contamination Potential: Positive, can be concentrated in food
- Etiologic Potential: Chrome ulcer
- Carciniogenecity: Potential, higher occurrence of lung cancer
- Acute Hazard Level: Extremely toxic if ingested or inhaled. Corrosive
to living tissue.
Highly toxic material via ingestion
or inhalation. Corrosive to skin and mumem; potential carcinogenic.
At present in Bangladesh the tanner's basic wet process technique is to
treat the stock with increasing concentrations of process chemicals using
water as the carrier. In order to ensure full penetration of the thickest
hide or skin in the batch, these concentrations are in excess of what
is needed and the unabsorbed chemicals are discharged in the effluent,
where they are a waste and cause expensive treatment problems. While the
Chemical companies in the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States,
the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain and Italy provide short term training
on the application of their chemicals, Whereas they do not provide any
assistance how to treat toxic effluents that increasingly contaminate
surface and ground water. Consultants provide technological transfer and
management either on arm's length fee paying basis on assignment or financed
by the World Bank, UNIDO, ITC or other United Agencies.
The small cottage tanners of Hazaribagh producing sandal leather out of
cow heads are probably the only tanning group in the world using waste
tanning liquor from the modern tanners as their process liquor. But after
using these waste are eventually discharged, as are all other tannery
discharges in the Hazaribagh tanning effluents into the streets, gutters
and sewers which ultimately enter surface and ground water. According
to Dittfurth and Röhring (1987) about 250 different toxic chemicals
and heavy metals like cadmium, chromium, arsenic, zinc etc. are used by
the leather industry. When the local industry was basically a vegetable
tanning complex, this effluent might have been high in BOD and unpleasant
but particularly dangerous.
There is, in addition, an extremely hazardous air pollution occur in Hazaribagh
which is not known in any other places of the world. The rest treated
hides and skins are cooked in open air to obtain glue for the local market.
They burn treated leather pieces instead of coal or wood as it is cheaper.
The smog and the smell like a witch cooking pot and it is beyond author's
capability to narrate. The most hazard occurs when the poorer group uses
poisonous treated leather pieces as an alternative fuel to cook regular
meals. No body knows how much harm and potential carcinogen diseases will
occur to the slum inhabitants. There is no warning from the Government
or aid giving agencies or their representatives. This is the vicious circle
that the poorest groups are the worst victims of the foreign currency
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Buriganga turns into a toxic dump
Severe pollution has reduced the river Buriganga into a 'dumping drain' of toxic refuse, threatening millions of people living on its banks with serious health hazards and a loss of their livelihoods.
That the river is dying is clearly evident from its stench. The highly toxic waters release a 'gas' that starts irritating the nostrils and throat as soon as humans breathe it. Its foul odors can be smelled from as far away as half a kilometre.
"Sometimes we are unable to sit in our office due to the unbearable stench from the river water," said an official at the Sadarghat river port. As the day rolls into the afternoon the heat of the sun turns the stench even fouler, making the 'pitch black' Buriganga water intolerable, he said.
Soon after the floodwater receded and the river wore its lean period look, the pollution instantly increased due to a lack of dispersion. Millions of cubic metres of toxic waste from the Hazaribagh tanneries and thousands of other industries, topped with a huge volume of untreated sewage from the city, now remain almost stagnant within the river water. The situation is set to continue until a new flow of water rushes in from the upstream, beginning in perhaps another two months.
In the meantime, people living along the river are the worst victims of the pollution, which they say is worse than anything they've seen in previous years. Thousands of water transport workers, working on the passenger and cargo vessels in Sadraghat, are forced to bring water from the river Meghna and Dhaleswari for washing. Unable to take a bath or wash clothes for days, many of them have even begun to suffer from various diseases.
"We can not use the water of the Buriganga for bathing, washing or cooking," said Mohammad Uzzal, an employee of a launch. "For cooking, we use the water collected from faraway places in our water tank," said Mohammad Jalil, a launch cook.
Farid, a ticket collector of MV Mashiron Khan-1, said that even for washing the floor of the vessels they have to bring water from relatively less polluted rivers such as the Meghna near Chandpur.
"Sometimes, when we require more water while anchored at the terminal, we are forced to buy tap water at a high price," said a launch operator. "If we wash the vessel with this water passengers complain of a bad smell," he said.
At least two private companies supply 'pure water' to the launches in the Sadarghat, charging about Tk 150 for filling a 400-liter capacity water reservoir.
he scenario is even bleaker in the villages along the river, in the upstream of the Buriganga. Hundreds of thousands of families living in Zinzira, Kholamora, Kamrangirchar, Jhaochar, Modhyerchar, Wasspur, Basila and Looterchar face a severe water crisis for at least six months a year. Dependent on the river for generations, this population has been cut off from using the river water for over ten years. Although almost every household has a tube-well, ninety percent of them become dry during the lean period. Housewives are even forced to travel miles for washing and collecting water.
"There are people, particularly migrant day labourers, who are badly suffering as they are unable to wash their clothes or take a bath for days," said Lakhan, a former fisherman from Basila.
Pollution in the river has also rendered totally barren hundreds of acres agricultural land and also destroyed the river water's ecosystem. Once famous for its variety of local fishes, the Buriganga now has virtually no aquatic life.
There are at least 200 sources from which polluted water pours into the river Buriganga, chief among them sewage waste from the tanneries at Rayer Bazar. The government now has a plan to relocate the Hazaribagh tanneries to Savar with effluent treatment plants.
A top BIWTA official said that all the feeder rivers in the upstream, such as the Jamuna and the Brahmaputra, remain cut off during most of the year due to siltation in confluent areas.
"The river Buriganga becomes almost stagnant as the water flow from upstream is almost totally cut off in the lean period," he said (Morshed Ali Khan and Rafiq Hasan
, Daily Star, March 16, 2005).
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It is with extreme distress that we learned of the stunning deterioration in the Buriganga river which has of late turned into a veritable cesspool of pollution. The Buriganga has become the dumping ground for all kinds of toxic refuse and sewage that has turned this once beautiful and vibrant river into a health hazard that now endangers the well-being and livelihood of millions who live and work in its environs.
The pollution has reached such a state that the river waters are now more or less pitch black and give off a noxious odour that can be clearly detected from the banks. Thousands of tons of toxic waste from tanneries and other industries together with untreated sewage pours into the river every day. The fact that the river has lost much of its volume in recent years and scarcely flows contributes to the problem, as the refuse sits as sediment in the water and is not washed downstream.
The detrimental impact on those who live and ply their trade on the banks of the river does not require any elaboration. Things are so bad that they are forced to bring water from the Meghna and Dhalswari rivers for washing and drinking.
Pollution of our waterways is now reaching epidemic proportions. Nor is this the only kind of pollution that we must deal with as the country becomes more urbanised and more industrialised. The government has enacted some positive steps to counter pollution such as the switch to compressed natural gas and the banning of poly bags, for which credit is due. However an ad hoc approach to the problem is not enough.
The government needs to give urgent attention to the problem of pollution and come up with a cohesive plan to combat its dangers. Only a holistic and integrated approach that takes the matter seriously will work. The government must act before it is too late and as the plight of the Buriganga shows, action is long overdue. There can scarcely be a more pressing concern than to ensure that the air we breathe and the water we drink are free of toxins (Editorial, Daily Star, March 19, 2005).
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2. 1. 2. Sitalakhya River
Besides wastes from
Dhaka urban population the river receives untreated industrial wastes
from urea fertiliser plants, textile mills and other industries. The principal
polluting agent in the region is the Urea Fertiliser Factory of Ghorasal
and the concentration of ammonia dissolved in water has increased over
time causing fish-kills.
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2. 1. 3. Balu River
The river near Tongi (15 miles north of Dhaka) receives untreated effluents from industries
such as textiles, lead batteries, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, paints,
detergents, iron and steel, rubber etc.
As new industries and an entire new city sprout along its banks, the river Balu on the eastern fringe of the city is slowly dying, strangled by land encroachment and poisoned by industrial pollution, creating a serious health hazard for several lakh people living in the area.
Local people say the stench in the river Balu is so strong during the lean period that they find it difficult to breathe. "We can not even think of touching the water during the lean season, which lasts for over four months. The water is so polluted and bad smelling that it turns the skin white," said Nuru Mian of Boro Beraid village on the western bank of the river.
The river is also slowly shrinking, making navigation increasingly difficult, since many areas along its banks have been filled in to support a host of new buildings, including brick kilns, shops, cinema halls, pucca houses and ghats.
Many examples of such destructive building activities were clearly visible at several points during a visit to the river on Saturday. A mosque was built on the eastern side of the river at Eshapur, 75 per cent of it on the river. Its first floor was erected on a number of pillars directly on the river.
Elsewhere, the river is being strangled in order to give birth to an entire new city Purbachal, which the Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakkha RAJUK is building on 6,000 acres of land covering Dhaka Narayanganj and Gazipur districts. Hundreds of barges can be seen carrying sand from the River Meghna and Munshiganj areas to fill in low lands.
As a consequence of the gradual encroachment, the river, which originates from the Lakkhah and the old Brahmmaputra in Mymensingh and flows to Shitalakhya, has become so narrow that goods-carrying vessels often get stuck on the riverbed. During winter, it virtually shrinks to a small canal.
Lakhs of people living on the banks of the 21-kilometer long river are also facing a serious water crisis since they can no longer use the river water for daily tasks, such as bathing and washing clothes.
Even ten years ago, the river water was clean and usable for various household purposes. Fishermen netted big fish on the river all year round, the villager Mian said. But now hardly any fish can survive in the polluted water, he recalled.
"We cannot even wash our legs in the river because it causes itching," said Mahbubul Alam of the same village. He said cultivation of vegetables on the land along the river is also being affected because of pollution in the water.
Sources say the river is being poisoned because sewage water from Dhaka city flows into it via the Rampura Khal, spreading throughout the whole area through arteries and various canals.
A high ranking engineer from Dhaka WASA admitted responsibility for polluting the river Balu and several hundred villages along it.
But he added that unscrupulous home and industry owners on an area of about 35 square kilometers cause the pollution. They have illegally connected their sewerage lines with the storm sewerage, which discharges huge volumes of night soil and industrial wastes into the river through the Rampura sluice gate, he alleged.
He said, however, that WASA plans to set up a sewage and waste treatment plant on the eastern fringe of the city, but that the plan has remained shelved for years due to funding constraints.
"We have proposed to the World Bank and also appealed for funds but no investor is coming forward. The river pollution will not go until such treatment plants are in place," said the official, requesting anonymity.
Making matters worse, the villagers have become totally dependent on local tube wells since the river water is highly contaminated. But these only supply a very little amount of water during the lean season. On average, 60 out of 100 tube wells in the area remain non-functional during this time, the villagers said.
Poor villagers and day labourers who can not manage a tube well face severe hardship in obtaining water. But even those who have a tube well face difficulties, as the hand operated tube wells require a lot of pressure to obtain an adequate supply.
Mohammad Quamrul Islam, a local member of parliament and state minister for expatriate welfare and overseas employment, told The Daily Star that he has taken initiatives several times to reduce the pollution level in the river Balu.
A big waste treatment plant is necessary to stop pollution in the river but no such plant is being set up due to lack of investors for the project, he told The Daily Star, March 12, 2005.
2. 1. 4. Bhairab/Rupsa
The principal industries
of Khulna (south-east of Bangladesh) are jute mills, oil mills, newsprint
mills, cable, shipyards, tobacco, match factories, hardboard and others
dispose molasses, starch, oil, sodium-sulphide, ethane, lissapol, sodaash,
dye, sulphuric acid, salicylic acid, lime, ammonium sulphide, and chrome
etc. Afew study at Bhairab River shows a very alarming water quality data
(Nov.-April 1988-89) - conductivity 390-9500 Micro-mhos/cms, total solid
260-3500 mg/l, TDS 260-3200 mg/l. The pollution aspects of Bhairab and
Rupsa Rivers is very critical - the Rupsa River does not receive a continuous
flow of fresh water from the parent river, on the other hand, the Bhairab
River, being subject to tides, has marked backwater effects which reduce
the purification capacity of the river.
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2. 1. 5. Karnaphuli River
The polluting industries
of Chittagong (south-east of Bangladesh) such as 19 tanneries, 26 textile
mills, 1 oil refinery, 1 TSP plant, 1 DDT plant, 2 chemical complexes,
5 fish processing units, 1 urea fertiliser factory, 1 asphalt bitumen
plant, 1 steel mill, 1 paper mill (solid waste disposal hourly 1450 m³),
1 rayon mill complex, 2 cement factories, 2 pesticide manufacturing plants,
4 paint and dye manufacturing plants, several soap and detergent factories
and a number of light industrial units directly discharge untreated toxic
effluent into Karnaphuli river. From the survey of effluents from different
industries , it has been found that the discharge is generally compose
of organic and inorganic wastes. The organic waster are the effluents
from the tanneries, fish processing units, degradable wood chips, pulps
and untreated municipal and sewage (about 40,000 kg BOD daily) etc. The
inorganic waster are chemicals used by the industries such as various
acids, bleaching powder, lissapol, hydrogenperoxide, alkali, salts, lime,
dyes, pigments, aluminium-sulphate and heavy metals etc. The DDT factory
and fertiliser factory disposing of DDT, toxic chemicals and heavy metals
to the Karnaphuli River and ultimately to the Bay of Bengal ( Table: 2
and 3). The tables show about 220 ppm of chromium, 0.3-2.9 of cadmium,
0.05-0.27 ppm of mercury, 0.5-21.8 ppm of lead entering river and sea
water much higher than allowable limits. and extremely alarmingly to aquatic
flora and fauna and through food chains to human beings. It may be mentioned
that Bangladesh obtain table salt from solar drying of sea water and consequently
increase pollution of sea water shall create a serious national health
About 20,000 fishermen
became jobless at Rangonia, Boalkhali and Anwara Upazila due to water
pollution (Dept. of Environment, 1988). The estimate of crude oil spillage
at Chittagong is about 6,000 metric tonnes per year, while about 240,000
gallons per year of bilge water is also dumped (Ministry of Environment,
1992). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons known to be carcinogenic enter
the river water and also the Bay of Bengal. But no specific study or quantitative
analysis of the run-off, discharge amount or residue level has so far
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3. POLLUTION FROM AGRICULTURE
India currently uses
about 5 million tonnes of fertiliser, around 12 000 tonnes of pesticides
and manufactures 55 varieties of pesticide, of which DDT, BHC and malathion
account for half of the output (Verghese, 1990). In Bangladesh during
1979-80 total use of pesticides was nearly 2,3047 tonnes, whereas the
use rose during 1984-85 to nearly 4,000 tonnes, during 1989-90 to more
than 5,000 tonnes and during 1992-93 about 7,200 tonnes. Indiscriminate
and excessive use of pesticides in increasing amount are posing greatest
threat to surface water pollution in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta plain.
DDT and other highly toxic pesticides (Dirty Dozen) are indiscriminately
used by the farming community.
In Bangladesh total
production of rice (Aus, Aman, and Boro) and wheat increased from 9.9
million tonnes in 1972/73 to 19.1 million tonnes in 1990/91. This has
been achieved through extensive cultivation of HYVs (High Yield Varieties)
of rice and wheat with extensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and irrigation.
The total area under irrigation has increased from 1.2 million hectares
in 1973 to 3.1 million hectares in 1989 (Ministry Environment and Forest,
Govt. of Bangladesh, 1991). Year round transplanted rice cultivation keeps
the land water-logged continuously for many years. Fertilisers and some
pesticides are leaching through the soil into shallow groundwater's. There
is no available systematic studies on nitrate contamination in Bangladesh.
A rapid increase in nitrate content is expected in the rural areas of
Bangladesh. About 20 percent of the rural population obtain drinking water
from surface sources, whereas the rest rely on shallow tube-wells (30-60
meter depth). High mortality death rate of children under the age of five
indicating increasing pollutants in drinking waters. Maintaining high
quality groundwater will require practical approaches to prevent contamination,
because of the increasingly vast areas involved.
The traditional varieties
of rice such as Aman, Boro, Aus etc. are replaced in many areas by HYV.
At present the farmers complains that a declining yield of HYV rice despite
increasing use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Year round mono-cropping
resulted in Bangladesh depletion of soil nutrients, formation of toxic
compounds in soil and about 1.74 million ha land is deficient in essential
nutrients (sulphur, zinc). This has caused 10 per cent crop reduction,
17 per cent for rice crop (Ministry of Environment and Forest, 1991).
The Government and many Organisation in Bangladesh reported that the deterioration in soil
fertility is attributed to continuous monocropping of rice, particularly
HYV rice. The daily "Bhorer Kagag" reports on November 11, 1994
almost all HYV rice fields in the southern districts of Bangladesh are
severely destroyed by the insects, whereas 16 districts of the northern
part of Bangladesh seriously lacking of essential trace minerals (crop
production will reduce to 40-50 % within the next three to four years).
After the construction embankments, where the HYV cultivated, agricultural land does not receive
fresh fertile sediments, algae and water that keep ground water level
high during dry season, depleting natural soil to nutrient poor soil.
The loss of vital nutrients like illite, montmorillonite clay minerals,
silt, organic matters (nitrogen supplying algae) are compensated by chemical
fertilisers. The environmental aspects of surface water development projects
have been neglected by the planners and engineers. In the planning of
projects farmers requirements and knowledge are not considered. Mainly
engineers' decisions and designs are imposed on them (Khan,1987).
For example under the Ganges-Kobadak Irrigation Project construction of flood embankments
produced flowing rivers like Kumar, Kaliganga and Dakua to dead rivers
which created a serious ecological disaster. Another example of ecological
disaster is Horai River Sub-Project where in February 1989 the inlet of
the Horai River at the Padma (Ganges) end closed down which resulted 20
beels (wetlands) of 9,000 acres dried up. Besides the loss of wetland
prevented the annual recruitment of fish prawn and nutrient rich water
from the Padma (Ganges) river. If the current trend continues, in twenty
years about 2 million ha flood plains would have been permanently removed
due to flood control and drainage development (Ministry of Environment
and Forest, 1991). After China and India Bangladesh is the third largest
country in the world in inland fisheries. But at present the average yields
for inland fishery are low and declining by about 2.7 per cent a year.
However, this decline have been offset by increased inland culture fisheries
by the richer group of rural population. But the poorer group of the rural
population (more than 80 per cent) who used to catch fish from the floodplains
as the only source of animal protein is interrupted from this source due
to structural measures and increasing surface water pollution. In 1960
average caloric intake in Bangladesh was more than 2,300 which reduced
to 1,920 in year 1990. A large number of children in poor families become
blind every year because of nonavaility of proper diet.
In fact, the short and long term strategy of the supplying industry is to maximise the use
of chemicals and use new biotechnique to broaden the applicability of
pesticides. (Mooney et al.,1988). Chemical companies recognise that there
is a bonanza awaiting manufacturers who can create seeds like herbicides.
It is undoubted that "the green revolution" has opened the world
wide market of the agrochemical industry.
There were about 30,000 rice varieties cultivated by farmers in the Indian-Subcontinent and at
present only 15 varieties comprise 75 percent of rice cultivation. Monoculture
creates a market for crop chemicals. More advanced varieties of seed will
lead to more toxic chemicals, greater risk for farmers, achieves only
more environmental damage. Pat Mooney and Cary Fowler, the Noble Prize
winners of 1985, described it as "genetic erosion", most prominent
of all is the environmental erosion.
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4. Who will save the Ganga?
While the Magh Mela at the Sangam in Allahabad attracted tens of thousands of pilgrims each day over the last month for their annual dips, as usual, the UP government can sigh with relief that there were no protests this time. During the Ardha Kumbh Mela in January last year when sadhus threatened to take 'jal samadhi' if the high pollution level in the river wasn't treated. Indeed, it was perhaps a result of the song and dance that the sanyasis made last year that led the administration to take some steps to reduce effluents into the Ganga. But are these enough? The state government has sealed 135 tanneries in Kanpur since December 2006.
But none of the government agencies are doing anything to stop the discharge of domestic sewage into the Ganga that, by some estimates, is responsible for nearly 75% of its pollution.
Magh Mela Sangam at Allahabad
The UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the agency that's supposed to act against the causative factors of Ganga's pollution, most notably domestic sewage, is clueless. The pilgrims, who will continue their dips in the river up to Mahashivratri in mid-March, will thus be doing so in a river whose fundamental problem of sludge hasn't been solved.
So how bad is the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) story? Herewith some disturbing facts. Kanpur alone produces more than 400 million litres per day (mld) of wastewater, of which 300 mld is from domestic sewage. Industries, including tanneries, produce approximately 100 mld of effluents.
There are as many as 50 and 23 drains joining the Ganga in Allahabad and Kanpur. The three treatment plants in Kanpur manage to clear only about 160 mld of wastewater - more than 250 mld of untreated sludge continues to get discharged into the Ganga.
The functional capacity of Allahabad-based treatment plant is a mere 60 mld, whereas the city produces about 300 mld of sewage, with very high percentage of it being domestic waste.
"Holding more than 600 mld of water for more than two months is impossible, as there's no infrastructure to do so," says Kanpur-based environmentalist, Rakesh Jaiswal. The sludge is supposed to be drained to out the city's outskirts to treatment plants but authorities say they haven't the support systems in place for it.
UPPCB regional officer Radheshyam said the board acted against tanneries because it was responsible for the industrial waste being discharged into Ganga.
The responsibility for treating domestic sewage lay with Kanpur Jal Nigam, which is being funded under GAP. But the Jal Nigam's general manager D P Singh says stopping discharge of domestic wastewater is impossible because they haven't the capacity to store the sewage from homes.
In a classic case of bureaucratic red-tape, funds allocated by the Centre to the state under GAP for infrastructure and capacity building of sewage storage plants, are diverted to operations and maintenance.
This is because the state has no money to pay for its mandate, which is maintenance and operations of GAP-related infrastructure. Chairman of UP Leather Industries Association Mohd Ishaq says the leather industrialists have been made fall guys and the civil society, including the courts, are being misguided by the government agencies in the name of cleaning Ganga.
"Only 193 tanneries are functional and this will harm the leather industry," he says. Ishaq says that most of the tanneries were linked with the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) and a few tanneries had their own treatment plants. "We are being victimised and none is bothered either about domestic waste or the effluents produced by industries other than leather," he says. President of the Ganga Pradushan Mukti Abhiyan, Swami Harichaitanya Maharaj, however, says the government should plan alternate measures like centralized treatment plant and utilize the treated water in irrigating the barren lands than dumping it in Ganga. There isn't really a dearth of solutions to save the Ganga. But there's a clear lack of political and administrative will (Akhilesh Singh & Binay Singh,TNN
, March 10, 2008).
Allahabad Magh Mela
Unquiet and dirty flows the Ganga
VARANASI: A bath in the Ganga here is traditionally believed to be an instant means to wash away sins and liberate oneself from the cycle of births and re-births. Indeed, walking down the ghats of this city instils a feeling of spiritualism.
But a boat-ride along the 7-km stretch of the Ganga leaves a sense of unpleasantness, or rather disgust. Partially burnt bodies, piles of garbage and bathing animals is what is visible, even though thousands of pilgrims throng the banks for that all-important bath. But the health hazards of the polluted waters, and the stink from the water owing to the raw sewage load in the river, are striking.
Varuna and Assi are the two rivers that give Varanasi its name. Both are no better than sewers now. After collecting the sewage of the city, the two empty into the Ganga.
Varuna merges with the Ganga at Rajghat, and upstream up to the Assi Ghat domestic sewage flows in at 30 points. The five ghat sewage pumping stations are not capable of stopping these 30-point sources. Even the bypasses of these sewage pumping stations discharge sewage into the river.
The three treatment plants do not help check the sewage flow into the Ganga, owing to the questionable technology chosen and the size of the plants developed under the first phase of the Ganga Action Plan.
Ganga water at all the 84 ghats of the city is highly polluted. An estimated 36,000 bodies are cremated every year here. While the ashes and remnants of most of these are immersed in the Ganga, quite a number of half-burnt bodies are disposed of in the river.
Each of the 84 ghats has a history. Each is dedicated to a community, a princely state or even caste. People from as far away as Kanyakumari come here for salvation.
The ghats are a source of livelihood for millions: priests, washermen, shopkeepers, hawkers, food stall owners, barbers, boatmen... Then there are those working in the dharamshalas, hotels, and guest houses catering to thousands of pilgrims who come for the Panchkoshi Parikrama each day.
Religious tourism is a major source of income. Unfortunately, a heavy flow of tourists has taken its toll in the form of air and water pollution.
Between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m the ghats are packed with hundreds of people who come for the bath ritual every day. Then there are those who come for sunset prayers. Studies have shown that these are the times of the day when the pollution level is at its peak.
The 3,000-year-old city is among the oldest in the world that has seen uninterrupted habitation. Known as Kashi, or the abode of Siva, it was Benaras before it became Varanasi. Kashi is a pilgrimage point and counted among the country's seven holiest cities. It is one of the Shakti Peethas and houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.
The Ganga flows today rather unquiet — notwithstanding all the plans and programmes to clean it up (Aarti Dhar,The Hindu, May 8, 2006) .
DIRTY GANGA PHOTOS
The sacred practice of depositing human remains in the Ganges also poses health threats because of the unsustainable rate at which partially cremated cadavers are dumped. In Varanasi, some 40,000 cremations are performed each year, most on wood pyres that do not completely consume the body. Along with the remains of these traditional funerals, there are thousands more who cannot afford cremation and whose bodies are simply thrown into the Ganges. In addition, the carcasses of thousands of dead cattle, which are sacred to Hindus, go into the river each year.
While industrial pollutants account for a smaller proportion of contamination in the Ganges, the health and environmental impacts of toxic chemical waste can be far greater. From the plains to the sea, pharmaceutical companies, electronics plants, textile and paper industries, tanneries, fertilizer manufacturers and oil refineries discharge effluent into the river. This hazardous waste includes hydrochloric acid, mercury and other heavy metals, bleaches and dyes, pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls—highly toxic compounds that accumulate in animal and human tissue. Runoff from farms in the Ganges basin adds chemical fertilizers and pesticides such as DDT, which is banned in the United States because of its toxic and carcinogenic effects on humans and wildlife. Damming the river or diverting its water, mainly for irrigation purposes, also adds to the pollution crisis. Rivers need fresh infusions of water to dilute and dissolve pollutants, and water flow is necessary to flush material downstream.
In 1985, the government of India launched the Ganga Action Plan, which was devised to clean up the river in selected areas by installing sewage treatment plants and threatening fines and litigation against industries that pollute. Almost 20 years later, the plan has been largely unsuccessful. The Western-style treatment plants simply did not meet the needs of the region. Such treatment facilities are designed for use in countries where the supply of electricity is stable, there’s no season of overwhelming monsoon rains, and the population doesn’t drink directly from the water source. Many Indians blame the plan’s failure on mismanagement, corruption and technological mistakes. A key criticism is that local communities, those most invested in the health of the river, were not included in the planning process.
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5. DISCUSSION: MANAGEMENT - BEYOND CONTROL
The Ganga is ‘dying’, and fast. The most revered river of the country can no longer be classified as "threatened". If the WWF report ‘World’s top 10 rivers at risk’ is any indication, continuous water withdrawal, pollution and climate change have together created a situation of very high risk for our most famous river, reports Vibha Sharma
"What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt—it is sure to where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else," Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Hal Boule once said. This statement, however, no longer holds true as some of the world’s greatest rivers, including the Ganga, are no longer assured of reaching the sea unhindered, says the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Human greed, expanding population and climate change have together ensured that.
How long will the river remain the lifeline of those who are sustained by it?
In the years to come the northern plains, heavily dependent on the Ganga, are likely to face severe water scarcity. Together with the onslaught of industrial and sewage pollutants, the river’s fate stands more or less sealed
The Ganga is facing a threat due to increased water withdrawal for agriculture, pollution, climate change and the 14 proposed large dams. In India, barrages control all the tributaries to the Ganga and divert about 60 per cent of the river to large-scale irrigation, the WWF report claims.
Over-extraction for agriculture in the river has caused a great reduction in surface water resources, increasing dependence on groundwater, loss of water-based livelihoods and the destruction of habitat for 109 fish species and other aquatic and amphibian fauna.
"Lowering water levels have indirectly led to deficiencies in organic content of the soil and reduced agricultural productivity. Over-extraction of ground water has affected the water quality. Inadequate recharging of groundwater impairs the natural cleansing of arsenic which becomes water soluble when exposed to air threatening the health of the people likely to use it. Climate change will excarberate the problems caused by water extraction. The Himalayan glaciers are estimated to supply 30 to 40 per cent of the water in the Ganga, which is particularly critical in dry seasons prior to monsoon," the WWF cautions.
Another major problem has been pollution caused by polluting industries due to which large amounts of chemicals like chromium find their way into its rapidly decreasing flow. And that’s not about all. The sheer volume of waste generated by millions of people living in the cities on its banks is passed on into the river in almost untreated form.
The entire Indian river system is polluted. The Central Government knows this, but has failed to improve water quality. Journalist Rajat Banerji asks: why?
So who's in charge of river cleanups? Well, they call themselves the National River Conservation Authority. So far, they've done little, reports investigative journalist Shamya Dasgupta.
No less than 1.124 tons of solid waste chromium rim the banks of the Ganga in Kanpur and is entering the food chain. Who cares? Suparna Sharma has the story.
But the biggest pollution problem facing the Ganga consists of pesticides that accumulate and get magnified at every level of the food chain in the river's ecosystem.
About 10 per cent of global population is living in the Ganges-Brahmaputra
delta and the population is increasing more than 2.6 per cent annually
and the it will double in 27 years. In view of this the governments of
this region have increased the production of chemical based agriculture
(Monoculture) and rapid industrialisation programme without considering
environmental impacts. The non-point sources of water pollution have increased
tremendously and even if all the major industries and urban and municipal
sewage obtain cleaning systems water quality will deteriorate due to non-point
India ranking among
the ten most industrialised nation with GDP about 5-6 per cent yearly
has brought unwanted and unanticipated consequences, including unplanned
urbanisation, pollution and risk of accident. Most industrial plants use
outdated, polluting technologies and makeshift facilities (Centre for
Environment Education, India, 1992). It is praiseworthy that in 1985 India
lauchned Ganga Action Plan when Prime Minister of India declared "we
will restore the pristine purity of Ganga". The plan intends:
· to intercept and treat raw sewage flowing directly into the river;
· to ensure and enforce proper effluent treatment;
· to promote and assist programmes for supply of protected drinking
water, construction of latrines,
and electric crematoria etc
The Ganga Action Plan
is a 532 cores Rupees project believes an expert of the Thames Water International
that some of the quality norm set are questionable or may be unattainable
(Verghese, 1990). The management problems are:
over 900 million
litres of sewage is dumped into the Ganges daily,
effluent treatment plants are expensive and premature closure can cost
can displace workers . For example 2,500 tanneries discharge daily 80,000
cubic meter of waste.
More than 90 per cent of
tanneries are small and medium scale and are scatteredly situated which
neither can set up individual
effluent treat ment plants nor be included in a common effluent treatment
plants (Rajamani, 1993). Besides
most of the industries will not be profitable after constructing modern
effluent treatment plants;
amount of fertiliser, pesticides runoff from agriculture increasingly
and ground water quality. Non-point sources also include infiltration
from the surface into vulnerable
aquifers - seepage from underground and surface mining operations - and
wet and dry deposition in lakes
and aquifers. India's coal has a very high ash content (35-40 %), the
disposal of which is a major problem
(Centre for Environment, India, 1992).
The Ganges transports
83 million tonnes of dissolved solid along with 2.5 per cent of global
flux of sodium to the oceans, whereas the Brahmaputra transports 35 million
tonnes of dissolved solid to the Bay of Bengal (National Environmental
Engineering Research Institute, India, 1987). 70 per cent of surface waters
in India is seriously polluted (Sibert and Dutta, 1990 and Centre for
Environment Education, India, 1992).
The major rivers of
India along with polluted load flow deltaic plain of Bangladesh and finally
to the Bay of Bengal. In Bangladesh the combined flow of the Ganges and
Brahmputra typically increasing from less than 10,000 cubic meter per
second early in the year (dry season) to a peak of 80,000 to 140,000 cubic
meter per second in late August or early September. Shortage of water
in dry season is exacerbated by the diversion of Ganges at the Farakka
Barrage, India. During dry period (November to April) surface water pollution
increases especially down streams of Industries and cities. UNICEF (1986)
reports that in 1983 there were over 57 million episodes of diarrhoea
among children under five causing an estimated 200,000 child deaths. The
National Cancer Society of Bangladesh on Nover 4, 1994 reports that about
800,000 persons are at present suffering from cancer and about 150,000
deaths annually occur in the country (Daily Sangbad, November 4, 1994).
There is no study that correlates diseases to environmental impacts. But
there is no doubt that most of the diseases are related with surface water
pollution, as in Bangladesh vast majority of the rural population uses
ponds and other surface sources and only 2-4 per cent of the population
has a sanitary latrine.
The present liberalised
industrial policy in Bangladesh ignores environmental protection - private
entrepreneurs do not require permission from any quarter. Banks in general
accord permission to the project, if it is financial viable. With the
increase of unplanned and socially and environmentally degraded industries
Bangladesh poses a new challenge. Pollution and human-induced hazards
are particularly serious in the developing nations, because industrial
production is heavily and scatteredly concentrated in city regions or
'core regions' within each nation.
of surface water quality is a serious problem in this subcontinent and
it will grow further if the present policy of industrialisation and agricultural
practice continues. A recent study which covers most of the subcontinent
shows that between 1890 and 1970, more than 30 million hectares of land
were transformed from forest and grassland into areas of crop production
and settlement (Tucker, 1988). Most of Bangladesh was originally forested,
with coastal mangroves backed by swamp forests and a broad plain of tropical
moist deciduous forests. Remnants of these forests, the Sunderbans, still
the largest mangrove forest of the world is threatened (ODA inventory
in 1983 reveals that Gewa and Sundri declined to 40-45 % since 1958-59)
due to structural measures in the Ganges River and over-exploitation.
Almost half of Bangladesh is wetland but the size of wetland is dramatically
decreasing year by year.
For example Chalan Beel (wetland) considered
to be the largest wetland in Bangladesh, now covers only a quarter of
100,00 hectares that it covered 150 years ago. If the current trend continues,
in twenty years 2 million ha of flood plain will be permanently removed
(Ministry of Environment, 1991). Shrimp farming in Bangladesh rank third
in earning foreign exchange (1983 production 2,200 tonnes, 1986 production
12,878 tonnes) contributed 10.94 % of total export earnings in 1988-89.
This increase production accompanied by the destruction mangrove forests
in the coastal region of Bangladesh (Anwar, 1993). In December 1994 the
daily newspapers of Bangladesh reported a massive shrimp-kill in the coastal
region due to unknown virus infection. Besides clearing mangrove forests
and destroying aquatic larvae of coastal region, these shrimp farms threw
about 23,000 metric tonnes of shrimp heads into the nearby waters every
year without any regard for the decomposition, increase in BOD content,
killing aquatic habitat and degrading drinking water quality.
Apart from many other
beneficial effects of forest and wetland, they improve water quality by
toxic substances removal, conversion of inorganic material to organic
material, metabolism of phosphorous, nitrogen and other nutrients, suspended
solid removal and removal of pathogen etc. Destruction of natural water
purification systems throughout the Ganges-Brahmaputra River system increasingly
deteriorating surface and ultimately ground water of this region.
The point and non-point
sources of surface water pollution are creating chemical and biological
contamination, channel contamination and basin contamination and the existing
management efforts are incapable to meet the problems. CIDA (1988) describes
that environmental policies in Bangladesh Governments plans and priorities
are conspicuous by their absence and where they exist they are inadequate,
outdated or unforceful. While the Government's proposed industrial pollution
regulation is sensible, is implementation will require considerable technical
and corruption-free management's. It will take decades for controlling
the proposed act. The region requires:
prevention and conservation of natural environments,
· cheaper technology for effluent treatment and
· social change for a sustainable development.
Pollution Prevention and Conservation of Natural Environments
While developing countries
are rapidly increasing the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides,
in developed countries agricultural issue moving higher on the public's
agenda is the use, and over-use, of pesticides and fertilisers. For example,
the National Environmental Policy of Plan in the Netherlands sets an overall
goal to reduce the use of fertilisers and pesticides - by the end of this
decade the use of pesticides should be cut in half. A 1987 law in Denmark
gives farmers financial support to develop or convert to organic farming.
Whereas in Bangladesh structural measures to grow HYV (High Yield Varieties)
of crops prevent nutrient rich flood-water to enter the fields, replaced
by increasing use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It may be mentioned
that a bumper crop was recorded in Bangladesh after each major flood,
when flood-water over-topped the embankments. The Ganges-Brahmaputra Rivers
transport annually 2.9 billion tonnes (one third of global sediment transport)
of nutrient rich sediments to the Bay of Bengal and there is no effort
in the country to utilise this unique natural gift. Bangladesh urgently
needs to develop improve farming techniques for traditional varieties
under regulated flash of annual nutrient-rich flood waters in the agricultural
land and reducing reliance on chemicals (Anwar, 1993).
School Text Book Board introduced environmental studies in the secondary
schools, but the books are the older version of the geography curriculum.
It is reported that many hazardous pesticides are used for the conservation
of food, medicinal treatments etc. (Anwar, 1993). Bangladesh requires
an education system that is understandable to rural population., that
· restore traditional
heritage for the conservation of natural resources
· environmental consciousness through unconventional methods
· effective citizen participation in decision making
· inclusion of environmental requirements at the earliest stage
of decision rather than
focusing on end-pipe solutions
Cheaper Effluent Treatment Technology:
Some studies report
that most of the industries will not be profitable after installing modern
effluent treatment plants. The conventional physical, chemical and biological
treatment methods are very expensive and Bangladesh with is present resources
can hardly afford such technology.
Several studies on wastewater effluents (secondary sewage, drainage wastewater,
livestock waste, industrial wastes etc.) have been investigated. Dymond
in 1948 first suggested the possibility of using waterhyacinth for the
removal of nutrients from wastewater effluents. Experimental studies show
a high rate of absorption of several heavy metals from paper mill effluents,
tannery wastes and fertiliser factory waste. Field studies in Mississippi
report that waterhyacinth reduces suspended solids, nitrogen, phosphorous,
faecal colioform (the presence of colioform organisms is regarded as evidence
of faecal contamination since these organisms have their origin in the
intensial tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals), and (BOD) Biological
Oxygen Demand (McDonland et al., 1980). Dissolved oxygen perhaps the most
commonly employed parameter of water quality, whereas with the increase
with biological oxygen demand (BOD) due to increase in organic matter
in water may lead to a low level of dissolved oxygen. A high BOD adversely
affects fish and other aquatic life. Mosse and Chagas (1984) also found
about 83.4% reduction in total coliforms and 89.6% reduction in fecal
coliforms from sewage effluents passing through waterhyacinth ponds in
Most studies suggest
that a simple passage of wastewater through a waterhyacinth pond improves
water quality. The mechanisms involve in wastewater purification using
waterhyacinth are similar to conventional treatment facilities. The waterhyacinth-covered
wastewater receiving ponds represent a unique environment which is also
stable if the water inflows and organic loading are steady. Every system
of wastewater treatment units requires specific design and operation programme
for maximum efficiency.
The recent scientific
studies on waterhyacinth advocate that instead of wasting valuable resources
on control efforts, the weed should be turned an asset in the developing
countries as it can combat water pollution. In Bangladesh conventional
treatment of wastewater is not available and beyond economic means. As
an inexpensive and affordable method the waterhyacinth can be used to
reduce or eliminate suspended solids both organic and inorganic, nutrients,
heavy metals, pesticides and organic compounds. The industries of industrial
countries are interested to transfer expensive and ever dependable technology
to the developing countries. On the other hand interested groups in the
developing countries can not earn enough from such projects.
More than 10 per cent
of world's population lives in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta plain and
if an average person in the South were to consume as much as an average
person in a developed country, the environmental crisis would be unimaginable.
The developing countries have so far followed strategies that are modelled
after the experience of industrialisation of the developed societies.
The developing countries fear that the concern for the environment would
delay their material and social progress. However, it is now considered
that the natural environment will soon be destroyed by biochemical pollution,
if we do not change our present methods of producing goods. In developing
countries the pollution of a river and the killing of its fish may often
lead to famine, whereas the extreme pollution of the Rhine or the Great
Lakes would not have a similar consequence for the neighbourhood population.
The development projects in Bangladesh benefit richer society . The International
Assistance Programme of the Government of the Netherlands comments on
projects in Bangladesh (1978):
A concentration on
economic growth only benefited small groups in these societies, such as
landlords, owners, managers in modernised industry and trade, and professional
people and high officials in private and government circles. The contention
that benefits of such a policy would automatically trickle down to large
majorities proved to be untenable. On the contrary, it became clear that
such policies widened still further the extremely large differences in
the levels of living.
The existing projects
mainly concern for the betterment of a privileged section of the population,
whereas the poor continue to be the enemy, misunderstood and blamed for
circumstances beyond their control. Our cultural patterns have been disrupted
and our societies have become unstable. The economic situation and the
policy and development system of the country are responsible for the threating
environmental situation. The suffering of the poor in Bangladesh continued
to imposed by global capital, which insists on taking wealth out of our
country to pay interest on debts, instead of allowing the amount spent
on poverty-focused projects. In 1989 developing countries received $ 92
billion in official development assistance; they paid out $ 142 billion
servicing their debts, which totalled $ 1,165 billion at the end of that
year. In other words, the developing countries gave to the First $ 50
billion more than it received (Strake, 1990). Export prices of industrial
countries reflect the costs of environmental damage and of controlling
that damage, where as in the developing countries costs borne in the form
of damage costs to human health, property, and ecosystem. There are many
toxic chemicals that are banned in the developed countries, but these
are allowed to export to the developing countries. The poor farmers of
this subcontinent use many no-name varieties of toxic pesticides as they
Since twenty years
Bangladesh has received about 22 billion US dollars, where 75 per cent
of the amount immediately returned to the aid giving countries as expert
fees and equipment purchase. Prof. Yunus, founder of Grammen Bank, comments
that the situation of the poor has not all improved, where as the projects
kept poverty to continue. Since independence aid giving organisations
and NGOs are working to eliminate poverty in the country. When they initiated
the programme the landless peasants were 37 per cent and now according
to a Government report it is 58 per cent. Whereas an official source reports
uneducated persons are increasing to 5,000 each day . It shows clearly
the result of their works.. Prof. Yunus comments, Government programme
to educate every one in Bangladesh is targeted to achieve in year 2,000,
but I think to reach year 2000, it will require us 5,000 years.
In spite of billion
dollars of investment by the WMF and the World Bank, the lives of fifth
of the world's people are gradually worsening. The reasons of our poverty
are not corruption, superstition and ignorance, but the main reasons derive
from the determination of the developed countries to pursue ever-rising
living standards and from the logic of the global economic system that
provides them with their affluence. First World's superior effective demand
enables them to secure many of the resources produced in the developing
countries and to ensure that the industries built their are the industries
that will produce the things that First World want, rather than things
that will produce things we need, and in many cases a new market is produced
which has any demand or need in the developing countries.
Prof. Mary E. Clark
of San Diego State University, USA (1993) on "Changes in Euro-American
values Needed for Sustainability" describes :
only what we wish to see, by supposing we know far more than we do,
we are ignoring the multiple signals of social, psychic, and environmental
deterioration that constantly increase. This cultural refusal to "see"
is a process that has happened before in history... The underlying beliefs
and assumptions are taught in the upper school and universities of almost
every country in the world, all of which have fallen under the intellectual
spell of the North
Thus, the elite of
most nations hold similar, Western ideas of about society, about Nature,
and about consequent future direction of the planet. For example Universities
in Bangladesh do not make any study or research on how to improve houses
in the villages (90% of the population) that can stand flood or severe
cyclone. Our ideas and decisions come from the city, and rarely filter
down to villages in crisis. What we need to see happening is a reversal
- an ecological sensibility that starts at the village level. Bishnoi
in Rajasthan, India with simple code of life are the only group survived
the recent drought without any apparent impact. Grameen (Village) Bank
in Bangladesh has also shown that without much resource and technology
economic and environmental situation of the poor can be improved, because
initiatiatives started from the root of the society.
If the goals of development
of the developing countries remain the same as they are, or were, for
the industrialised societies, then any new strategy of development, whether
ecological or otherwise, might become no more than a mere modification
of the present policies and trends rather than genuine trend.The developed
countries fail to carry conviction because they do not seek seriously
and systematically to change their own structures, and profound changes
in attitudes, life styles, and approaches.
The magnitude of the
destructive impact of our society on the sustainabilty of the planet,
both ecologically and socially, is extreme. And the changes needed in
its value-systems are profound. If the society of North and South does
not want to see, feel, and act according to global and regional reality,
our blue planet will not survive.
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6. Songs on Ganges- Padma
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