Couple in love take selfie in crazily polluted river clogged with rubbish

Well, what do you make of these photos? They are shocking and they are no doubt meant to shock. They are excellent quality and very clever because I believe that they are excellent examples of photo-editing. Their validity is helped by the fact that it looks like they were taken in India where these is a shocking number of dramatically polluted rivers much to their shame including the holy Ganges.

River pollution in India

India is infamous for its river pollution. This section discusses it briefly. My sources are websites on the Internet.

India’s longest and holiest river, the Ganges, is the most polluted! Pollution in India is caused by manufacturers discharging wastewater into rivers in an unregulated way. And then you get pesticide and fertiliser run-off from agriculture and discharge from mining and oil drilling. Plus, untreated sewage and so on and so forth.

The levels of POPs (persistent organic pollutants) found in several rivers in India are well above the WHO permissible limit. POPs are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment in many places in the world.

Wikipedia tells me that it is estimated that from 2016 to 2017, 7.17 million tonnes of hazardous waste was produced by industrial plants in India. The Central Pollution Control Board reports that as at 2016 there were 746 industries directly depositing wastewater into the Ganga (Ganges), India’s longest river. Within this wastewater there are pollutants such as heavy metals (lead, cadmium, copper, chromium, zinc and arsenic). This severely impacts aquatic life as well as human health.

If these metals get into the human body where they accumulate, they can cause severe health problems and impaired cognitive function, renal damage and gastrointestinal damage.


In addition to the above, there is inadequate sewage treatment in India. There are near enough human waste is treated before it is discharged into waterways. In addition, the existing treatment plants don’t operate properly or at all and/or they are not maintained.

Shockingly, the majority of government-owned sewage treatment plants remain closed most of the time because of poor design or poor maintenance. There is also a lack of reliable electricity supply to operate them. And there is absenteeism from employees and poor management. It is a very dire state of affairs.

I’m told that sewage discharge from cities, towns and some villages is the major cause of water pollution in India. There needs to be a massive investment. Just taking into account the major cities of India, they produce 38,000 354 million L of sewage per day. The capacity to treat that sewage is 11,000 786 million L per day. The result: a large number of very severely polluted rivers.

Antibiotics in rivers
Antibiotics in rivers. Photo: New Indian Express.

RELATED: Antibiotics in rivers puts millions of human lives at risk and endangers animals too

Water board ineffective

Water pollution is a major environmental problem in India. They do have a monitoring board as mentioned above, but what are they doing? The Board established a National Water Quality Monitoring Network. It comprises 1429 monitoring stations in 28 states. There are six in Union Territories on various rivers and water bodies across India. They monitor water quality all the time. It seems to me as an outsider that they are not producing results.

Holy river

More than 500 million people live along the Ganges. About 2 million people bathe in the river ritually daily because it is considered holy by Hindus. However, it is a major health risk because it is so badly polluted.

The Ganges is the National River of India. Delhi’s sacred Yamuna River has been found to contain 7500 coliform bacteria per 100 cm³ of water. There have been attempts to clean it up through eco-clubs and pressure groups.

India revised its National Water Policy in 2002. The intention was to encourage community participation and to decentralise water management. But there is a lot of complex bureaucracy in India which ensured that this intent remained intent. Nothing happened or hardly.

Cheetah rewilding

This reminds me, incidentally, about the relocation of 20 cheetahs into the Kuno National Park from Namibia in Africa to try and rewilding there with cheetah. One of the non-Indian veterinarians on the steering committee states that bureaucracy and political shenanigans have severely got in the way of the success of the cheetah project. He puts the ongoing lack of success or failure of the project to impart the bureaucracy in India which clogs up getting things done.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.