As industrial units all over the country have closed to contain the spread of COVID-19, the water quality of India’s rivers has been immensely improving. After the waters’ in River Yamuna recently reaching a remarkable level of purity, the Ganga river has now become so clean that the water is fit for drinking. By Upasana Singh

 

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In 2019, with high levels of pollutants and bacteria, the Ganga river was declared unfit for direct drinking as well as bathing. Due to industrial effluents, sewage from hotels and lodges, and lakhs of pilgrims visiting the Ghats, the holy Ganga river has witnessed increasing degradation. But since March this year, after the country went into lockdown to contain the spread of Coronavirus, the river water has become visibly cleaner. The closure of industries along its banks has led to improved water quality. According to experts, the present quality is so clean that the water is fit for drinking.

 

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Environmental Scientist and an ex-professor, BD Joshi said that after a long time, Ganga water has become good for achaman (ritual sipping) in Haridwar. He also added that a 500 per cent decrease in effluents has been observed.

 

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In Haridwar, the Har Ki Pauri Ghat is usually surrounded by lakhs of pilgrims per day from all over the world. The place is considered very auspicious as it is believed to be the spot where drops of amrit (sacred water) fell from the sky. One of the priests at the temple said, “This is a temporary phase due to the lockdown. But we will be happy if it remains in such a state even after devotees’ visit here.”

 

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The 40-50 per cent improvement in the quality as compared to earlier is also enriching marine life. Fishes and other aquatic beings are now visible in the water.

Besides Haridwar, the locals in Varanasi and Kanpur have resonated similar sentiments and said that this positive impact on the environment as a result of the lockdown is a welcome change.

Related: Check In At The Haveli Hari Ganga The Next Time You’re In Haridwar