Environmental Pollution Affecting Rivers

Environmental pollution affecting India’s Main Rivers


River ganga is so important and closely associated with Indian culture and civilization that it is often designated as ‘Maa-the-mother’ and is worshipshipped in India and now the  National River Of India (2008).

The Ganga is the ninth largest river in the world and second largest in India with the length of 2,525 km. from Gangotri to Ganga sagar. It constitutes about 25.2% water source of india. Several himalayan rivers including Madakini,Alaknanda,yamuna,ghaghra,gandhak,koshi,etc join it during its course. About 692 cities/towns of which 27 cities have a population of more than 1lakh are located at Ganga. More than 600 km of the river , particularly between Kanpur and Patna is highly populated. Everyday it receives about 1300 million liters and 250 million liters of chemical effluents. The main cause of pollution of Ganga’s water is the mixing of industrial effulents and domestic and municipal effluents into it.

environmental pollution

Following are the main cause of pollution of ganga:

  1. Sediment load of the Ganga river along other associated rivers.
  2. Sewage disposal of villages, towns and cities.
  3. Discharge of industrial effulents
  4. Release of death bodies of animal and human being
  5. Creamation along the bank of river and disposal of cremation material and the half burnt dead bodies of human beings.
  6. Surface runoff toxic chemicals, agro-chemical,pesticides,etc.

GAP (ganga action plan) helped in estimating the magnitude of ganga pollution. In the estimate, it was calculated about 10,90,000 kg toxic effuents and 13,00,000 kg domestic and municipal effulents were discharge in the ganga river evry year forom the cities of up only which increases the environmental pollution. The first step of GAP was started in 1985 and the second in 1995 to complete the plan of 1999. Despite ,20,000 crore has been spent to clean the water results achieved remain insufficient. Various other projects have also been subsidized by the government of the Netherland and Japan to clean the water of holy gangas. Now project of GAP in clucing the cleaning of yamuna and Gomti rivers.

NRPRA has granted rupees 100 billion to clean them.

Technical experts have recommended the 5 programme for cleaning national river of india, the ganga as follow-

  1. Formation of microdams
  2. Planning for floating population 
  3. Reduction of no. riversite industry
  4. Limited storage of water in the barrage
  5. Development of organic farming

The present prime minister of India, shri Narander modi  has launched a new scheme called namami ganga to clean holy river ganga and control environmental pollution. Government has sanctioned 20,000 crore for this project.


River ganga after being originated for yamunotri covers a passage of 1376km before joining the river ganga in Allahbad.

The river has  been divided into 5 segments from the point of view of environmental pollution level

  1. Himalayan segment from yamunotri tajewala,172km,nonpolluted zone.
  2. Upper segment from Tajewala to wazirabad,224km polluted by agro chemicals used in haryana.
  3. Delhi segment from wazirabad to okhla barrage, 22km, highly polluted zone  due to delhi effluent discharge
  4. Eutriphicated segment from /okhla barrage to join place with river Chmabal,490km,highly polluted with microbes and with highest BOD, mathura and the agra covered in the segment.
  5. Mixed segment from chambal sangam to allahabad 468km, pollution level decreases.

The environmental pollution problem in delhi is acute and highle dangerous. About 1900 million sewage has be discharged everyday in this segment of 22km. The total treatment capacity of Delhi plants is about 1270 ml/day if it is still discharged directly to river yamuna without any treatment. The treated water is also not pure for use. It remains partially untreated further 2800ml effuents day are discharge into river by 11 main nullahs which result in an inc of 200 BOD and 160 tons suspended solids.The most problematic nullahs are of najafgarh and shadhra. 

In 1993, in the second step of GAP , YAP(yamuna action plan) was also taken up. It included 127 working projects in which 48 are in up.


As we also know about the pollution of water and environmental pollution, the waste we everytime dumb in the water is just making pollute our rivers including our Holy River GANGA also. In India the sewage system is very bad but as per the GAP, YAP ‘s action plan project they are transforming. Nearly 50% of pollution in rivers is due to the sewage discharge and waste water discharge into the rivers.

This also affected and harmed aquatic life. We need to slow it down to making waste into the water bodies.

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