GN Bureau | May 19, 2015
Soon Ganga pollution will be treated as a criminal offense. In the effort to abate pollution, ministry of water resource, river development and Ganga rejuvenation is working on a law that will punish the one who pollutes the river.
The ministry has already received four drafts and is working on the final stages of it.
For the new law, the ministry has formed an inter-ministerial committee with the ministry of urban development, ministry of environment and forest and the ministry of law which are playing a key role in drafting of the new law.
Read: Pollution assessment of river Ganga by Central Pollution Control Board
The upcoming law will be a major step taken by the government to check the pollution in the river. However, if records are tracked, similar attempts were made earlier too however, were not implemented successfully.
Hearing a petition on Ganga pollution, the Allahabad high court in December 2012 had imposed a complete ban on use and sale of polythene bags and use of polythene as packing material for foodstuff in Allahabad. On December 7, the same year, the government counsel, appearing before the same bench had said that the issue regarding ban of polythene in all districts situated on the banks of river Ganga shall be considered by the UP government. Later the court asked the state government to impose a complete ban on polybags. Despite this ban, tons of plastic bags are thrown daily into the river chocking the river and spoiling the richness of the riverbed.
This law goes unchecked too
As the seven kilometres stretch of river Ganga in Varanasi was declared a tortoise sanctuary under Ganga Action Plan in 1989, any activity that violates the norms of sanctuary area is restricted under Wild Life (Conservation) Act 1972. This includes operation of cargo vehicles in river and diesel operated motor boats. Varanasi being a tourist destination attracts thousands of tourists every day who gather on the ghats and enjoy boat ride along the riverfront. Over 100 motor boats are operating in the river openly challenging the law. The UP government on the other hand is trying to shift this tortoise sanctuary to another place. However, the reason why the area was declared a protected zone was that the tortoise would eat up the remains of hundreds of dead bodies which are dumped into the river daily and hence clean the river.
As the diesel operated motor boats are operating freely, the quantity of dissolved oxygen has come down below the surface water affecting the aquatic ecosystem.
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