The Swatcha Ganga Campaign

Essay by dhruvJunior High, 9th grade July 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

The Sankat Mochan Foundation is a non profit organisation dedicated to cleaning the Ganges River. Since 1982, the Sankat Mochan Foundation has been campaigning to get the sewage out of the religous bathing areas of the Ganges River in Varanasi. The Government of India initiated the first stage of the Ganga Action Plan in 1984. Three sewage treatment plants and an electric crematorium were built, leading local people to believe that, at last, something practical had been achieved.

Unfortunately, the sewage treatment plants are not doing the job they were designed for. They are very energy intensive and expensive to run. The main plant is off line from 7pm to 5am every day, fails during the frequent energy blackouts, does not remove pathogenic bacteria and causes a build up of pollution alongside several villages. It causes sewage to back up throughout the city flowing out into the religious bathing areas, out through manhole covers and into the streets.

The health problems are devastating. The people of Varanasi have had enough. Where the government has effort has failed, the community, our support, may succeed.

Local villages are also suffering from the effects of extreme sewage pollution in their water supply, both river water and well water. Water quality testing conducted by the Swatcha Ganga Research Laboratory indicates faecal coliform levels in the wells of theses villages ranges from 21,000 to 80,00 colonies per 100ml. The safe level for drinking water is zero, for bathing water, less than 150 colonies per 100ml.

What is Being Done?

The Foundation has developed plans for an alternative lower cost and appropriate sewage treatment system which involves intercepting sewage along the river and diverting it via gravity flow to large oxidation ponds. The activity of special micro algae will remove pollutants from the sewage...