Prelims level : Environment Mains level : GS- III Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic Activity, Cyclone etc., Geographical Features and Their Location - Changes in Critical Geographical Features (Including Waterbodies and ice-Caps) and in Flora and Fauna and the Effects of such changes.
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Why in News?

  • According to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), The nationwide lockdown may have dramatically reduced air pollution levels across the country but it hasn’t significantly reduced pollution in the Ganga river.


  • Marginal reduction in BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand):
    • This reduction has been less significant owing to continual discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage.
    • Marginal reduction can be seen only during the 4th week of the lockdown.
    • Also there is a gradual increase in BOD levels towards downstream stretches of the river, with the maximum values in West Bengal.
  • Marginal reduction in COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand):
    • Reduction in COD concentration levels has also been less significant.
    • Few locations show increase in the COD values, while in remaining stations reduction in COD levels was not significant.
    • This marginal reduction in COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) can be attributed due to the stoppage of industrial activities.
  • Marginal Increase in Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Concentration:
    • The dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration levels “rose marginally” from March 22- April 15.
    • A high dissolved oxygen (DO) value is Considered a Good Indicator of River Health.
  • Highest pollution levels in U.P:
    • According to the report by CPCB the pollution in the river is highest in Uttar Pradesh.
    • The bulk of the sewage treatment plants commissioned under Ganga are in Uttar Pradesh towns, however a noticeable increase in the cleanliness of the river isn’t yet apparent.
  • Notable improvement in water quality in the Yamuna:
    • Analysis of the results indicate there is considerable improvement in the water quality of river Yamuna with respect to DO, BOD and COD when compared with pre-lockdown and lockdown period.

National Mission for Clean Ganga:

  • The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was implemented by the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga also known as the National Ganga Council.
  • This mission was established in 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act,1860 as a registered society.
  • The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under National Ganga Council is supported by the State level Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is an initiative taken by the Government of India to address the pollution of river Ganga by providing financial and technical assistance.

Initiatives Towards Clean Ganga:

  • A lot of initiatives were taken before the establishment of the Clean Ganga Mission that targeted towards the reduction of pollution and cleaning of the river Ganga. Some of the major initiatives taken by the Government of India before the implementation of this Mission are Discussed Below:
  • Ganga Action Plan: It was announced in 1985 by the Ministry of Environment & Forests. This was the first River Action Plan that was introduced for the improvement of water quality through interception, diversion and treatment of domestic sewage. The plan aimed in preventing the entry of toxic and industrial chemical wastes to the river.
  • National River Conservation Plan: This conservation plan was developed as an extension for the Ganga Action Plan with an aim to cover all the major rivers of India.
  • National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA):Controlled by the Prime Minister of India, the National River Ganga Basin Authority was formed under Section-3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 by the Central Government in 2009. It declared the Ganga as the ‘National River’ of India.
  • A Government clean-up campaign was started in 2010 to prevent the entry of untreated municipal sewage or industrial runoff into the river.

Namami Gange:

  • The Namami Gange Yojana is implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga along with its State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs). Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley announced the implementation of Namami Gange on 10 July 2014.
  • This programme was established as a conservation mission with a budget of Rs. 20,000 crore. Namami Gange aims at reducing the pollution of the river Ganga along with the conservation and rejuvenation of the river banks.
  • It is a flagship programme under the Union Government. The main pillars of the Namami
    • Gange have been discussed below:
    • Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure & Industrial Effluent Monitoring.
    • Development of river-front as well as river-surface cleaning.
    • Bio-Diversity & Afforestation.
    • Public Awareness.
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