Do you know what is the most polluted river in the world?
The most polluted river in the world is also the most sacred river of Hinduism.
The Ganges is 2,510 kilometres long, relatively short in comparison with Asia’s other great rivers. The source of the Ganges is in the Himalayas; it flows through India and into the ocean forming a large delta, which it shares with the Brahmaputra river (Bangladesh) and the Meghna river (Chandpur), in the Bay of Bengal.
The Ganges river basin drains a fourth of India and is one of the most populous regions of the globe, home to hundreds of millions of people. Toxic substances such as chromium, cadmium and arsenic, as well as bacteria and viruses responsible for diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, Guinea-worm disease, intestinal worms and trachoma, have been found in the water.
Water quality is good in the upper basin, but pollution of surface and groundwater increases in the medium and lower stretches of the Ganges. The causes include the lack of treatment plants, which leads to large wastewater discharges (1.1 million litres) by cities and villages, as well as pollution from agricultural runoff.
In 1986, the Ganges Action Plan was launched to carry out pollution control and clean-up in the Ganges river; in general, its efforts have not been effective.