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Yes, the Ganges Action plan was a success. It was a very small success, but it certainly wasn't a failure. The issue of Ganges river pollution, in my opinion, won't ever be "solved" in the traditional sense of word. I think that it is a dilemma, rather than a problem, lacking a real solution. However, I think success can be proclaimed when the current situation is improved upon and the negative consequences stemming from the pollution are mitigated. The Ganges Action plan was able to bring greater attention to the scale of pollution India is facing in this region. It also addressed the dangers of water-borne illnesses directly linked to the sanitation issues of Ganges river. So maybe, better said is, the Ganges Action plan was the impetuous of what could be success if those in power continue to act facts that the plan made available.

Gabriela makes a very good point: there are many etiologies of the Ganges river pollution. Even if one were able to pass a law and magically reform industry overnight, removing all industrial waste, there would still be ample organic and non-organic material spilling into the Ganges everyday. This is probably the most integrated case study we have done: it incorporates overpopulation, infectious disease, and agriculture. I think this complexity makes it a dilemma rather than a problem (with a concrete solution).

Re: Use of the Ganges by CAMCOOK-VACAMCOOK-VA, 17 May 2017 23:57

The condictions of the river is very poor and bad, it is really contaminated no only by the industries, but also by the people waste becoming in a sewage waters the risks for health is very hight and it is really necessary to take ways that people and industries, both can follow to improve the stage of the river.

Question 4 by Josue Alfaro (UEES)Josue Alfaro (UEES), 16 May 2017 00:42

Political: the central governement has made a plan that is looking for improve the stage of the river, but it just include 25 towns this plan is really organizade but it need start with the support of others communitys and more human resourses that help to realize it
Economic: it is necessary to have the enough economic resourses to start a plan like the one governement has been thinking, so they have to destinate it to the cause
Technologycal: they have to put more monitors to evalue the stage of the river, constantly trought the time so in this way they will more control
Health: people make ritual practices, in this river some of them drink this water, but industries use and contaminated this water too, so that implicated risks for their health, the entorn of the river is in bad condicions that they need to change
Social: people in the india, have a lot of believes but it is part of their culture so they can not change it, nevertheless they have to keep safe of his healh and take ways be in a good state
Ethical: the industries have to understand that river is part of the nature so ot have to be a control of the waste they produce, and have to be aware that other people use the water too

Questio 3 by Josue Alfaro (UEES)Josue Alfaro (UEES), 16 May 2017 00:41

The diversion of the river-water is used for industry, agriculture, and dozens of upstream cities, is the cause of why the river level gets down constantly, also the water of the Ganges is used the most as holy water in ceremonial religious rituals, and the water in the river is treated with such reverence.
The water usage of this river has a really high level of pollution, for example 60,000 devotees perform daily ablutions in the river and 32 streams of raw sewage empty into it and there are two cremation grounds along the ghats, which dispose, wholly or partly, of 30,000 corpses a year, do not help in the preservation of this river, it is important to mention that along the river there are places that contribute to the pollution of the river, there are 25 towns with a lot of population and there are also 50 smaller towns, also there are 100 major industries located directly in the river of wich 68 are considered grossly polluting. So most of the point sources of pollution comes from domestic and industrial wastes and some of the non-point sources of pollution are the ones that come from agricultural run-off containing residues of harmful pesticides and fertilizers.

Use of the Ganges by Gabriela Vega (UEES)Gabriela Vega (UEES), 14 May 2017 01:47
Elias Martinez(UEES)Elias Martinez(UEES) 13 May 2017 18:02
in discussion Water Quality Case / Question 5 » Q5

It is important to work with the support of the state and government entities in a comprehensive way, pollution in the Ganges River is a multifactorial problem, so it is important not only to raise public awareness, but to regulate the wastes discharged by the Industries and the techniques of water sanitation, which despite the existence, no 100% of water, a local level the reconstruction of the population becomes a delicate subject because of the religious beliefs that the settlers have, According to the First case a Change in populated villages take about two generations, so a long term can start programs that educate the population on the harmful effects of use and intake of this type of water and the correct use Water, a short Term strategy should focus on population water purification measures, such as boiling it, plant certain types of aquatic plants in the most requested areas, In order to filter water at least a little, and to make them aware of the damage that the water generates in their organism, it is also important to create campaigns for people to avoid practices that contaminate the river by domestic waste or by direct feces Rio and Last generation of alliances between the different medical representatives of the other regions so that the effort is jointly and reduces the contamination not only in certain areas, but in general, besides counting a register of diseases and progress.

As physicians we are committed to improving the health and quality of life of the population, the doctor is committed to curing diseases and raising the public about risks and improving their habits, but it is very important that government entities and local institutions also join Efforts to combat river pollution through the implementation of purification techniques and laws regulating solid wastes poured by large industries, the doctor will always try to cure the disease but it is the risk factors that must be controlled to avoid relapses

Q5 by Elias Martinez(UEES)Elias Martinez(UEES), 13 May 2017 18:02

That is an interesting way of putting it. In a lot of ancient cultures, rivers were given a lot of importance ritualistically because the people were aware that they were only sustained thanks to the river. All of the first civilizations recorded started around rivers whether it be the Euphrates in Mesopotamia, the Yangtze in China, or the Nile in Egypt. The Ganges River is similar and people have been practicing the same religion of Hinduism in an evolving form since then. Therefore, it's natural that a lot of myth comes from the river. I apologize for going religious, but in Hinduism God is in everything and things seen as continuing life are especially respected. For example, Hindus won't kill cows because the milk feeds their children. Similarly, I doubt Hindus would have any problem with filtering and preserving water that they respect so much. The issue is not that they do not want to clean the river but that they do not have the materials to do so and in some places are not aware that they should be doing so. I speak as someone whose grandmother's ashes were poured in the Ganges River. Sewage is the most important issue with the Ganges. People are not using the Ganges for domestic waste because it is religious but because of necessity. I do not think Hindu culture would be favored by not cleaning the water, but rather both people of and not of the Hindu faith do not want to be drinking dirty water. If anything, one article mentioned the lower social class living in such destitution and depression that they do not care to filter the water. But that is an issue of socioeconomic class and not religion. I know all these posts are well intentioned, but a lack of familiarity can lead to misunderstanding and exaggeration that I felt I should clear a bit. I apologize if I overstepped.

Mac makes a great point- the cultural use of the Ganges River is an important consideration when dealing with pollution and use of the River. Many Indian people use the River for spiritual rituals including bathing and drinking the water, but they also contribute to the pollution of the River by the practice of water burials. This complicates the issue of dealing with pollution because of the strong cultural and spiritual belief of the population. One approach to addressing this issue may be to educate the population about the effect of their practices on the River and their own health. It would be unwise to force the community to abandon their beliefs and cultural practices, but it would be irresponsible not to inform them about the health risks of continuing to use the River as a final resting place for their dead.

Re: Ganges by MaggieStorm-VirginiaMaggieStorm-Virginia, 09 May 2017 17:21

As far as the Ganga action plan goes, the success really is measured based on what we define success as. I think the plan as a whole did not make a significant impact on the river, they were not able to stop the contamination nor the run off from tannerys but the plan did raise awareness to the issues of the river. I think the organizers would have liked to have raised awareness while simultaneously cleaning the river but the goals for the river are too big for committee. So for that reason I feel that it was not a success, even if there were positives such as raising awareness.

Ganga Action Plan by Sara AfridiSara Afridi, 09 May 2017 15:24

I really like that plan, Marc! I think this way you would not only gain approval and insight into the way one might be able to help, but also a new perspective on what the elders would like to see changed. This way we can figure out the aspects of the cleanup that we can work with and make changes for the better along with what kinds of rituals we cant really touch if we don't want to offend. I don't agree with changing the products without telling the people though, I think the intent of deceiving even if for the greater good will come off as just that, deceiving. This would potentially hurt any future projects we as an organization would want to do and it would ruin peoples trust in outsider help. If we were wanting to change the pain we could say something along the lines with: "If the river is "God" let us give it the best materials and health we can and relieve any undue need for the river to clean itself." I feel like those narratives might be able to open the conversation a bit more.

Communication between the government and the local communities in needs to be established. I would never want to take away the culture from the people and stop their rituals, but something has to be done before its completely destroyed. A voice for each community needs to be in contact with the over arching government and regulations and compromises need to be reached. Infrastructure and way of life needs to be continually developed and I believe with factory advancements through technology and regulations that would cut back on pollution, along with plumbing for the local people or at least a few city wide options to use the bathroom without it being in the river. This is a very complex issue, but I believe ethically for generations to come and the area to survive some compromises need to be made, ideals shifted, and the way the people look at the river. The river can still be god to them, but there should be ways to educate and provide them with way to do it more responsibly.

In their culture the Ganges is not utilized just as a source of water. It is their god and source of life in many ways spiritually. For example thousands of people come to the river banks daily to drink, bathe, and perform rituals to their god. Doing so keeps them in the good gracious of their god. Many individuals have no source of pluming and excrete feces and urine into the Ganges daily along with their own waste for the rituals. Organizations and factories dump heavy chemicals and trash as well into the river. It is not very regulated even today as rivers are within the US. These give the Ganges different sources of pollution non-point source being the rituals as the plastics and paint is dumped in varies places, and point source pollution from factories such as the tanneries. It is a multifaceted problem involving saving the river and local environment, without taking the culture away from the local community.

Ganges by Mac DeHart-McCoyleMac DeHart-McCoyle, 09 May 2017 14:40

I really appreciate your responses, Marc and Valentina. This is a very difficult dilemma; however, as you’ve both pointed out, there are some things that could definitely be done to help. I really like the idea of involving the religious leaders. I think the river’s ceremonial uses are probably some of the more non-negotiable uses due to the cultural traditions. That being said, there are some more environmentally friendly ways that some of these ceremonial practices could take place. For example, people could use more biodegradable materials for ceremonies that involve putting anything in the river or consider demarcating a specific area in the river that tends to be more turbulent to dump any ashes. I agree that any of these changes would likely only be successful if it was coming from trusted religious leadership. I think the challenge then becomes how to convince the religious leaders themselves to adopt and promote more environmentally friendly practices. One way this might be able to happen is by reaching out with the goal and spirit of collaboration, not simply dictating changes. If we were in the position of governmental authority or even public health or medical authority, we could express concern that is relevant to the religious leaders in relation to their religious communities- their health, livelihood, ability to perform their religious duties, etc. Then we should listen to what they think the problem is and work from there in collaboration with the religious leaders, with them really heading up any intervention/ changes that might need to take place.

I think it is important to mention the uses of the Ganga on the economics of the area. Most recently, there is a new plan being implemented on the increase the usage of barges for industrial purposes and transport. There are both positive and negative results from this new plan. It is important to consider those who use the river for religious purposes, but I think it is also important to consider those who depend on the river to make a living.

I think most would agree, based on what we see from an environmental pollution standpoint, that it has not worked. Phase I has failed miserably on several key points. They were unsuccessful in decreasing the amount of raw sewage and tannery run-offs from entering the river. There are drains that carry raw sewage to the river and under GAP Phase I, there were supposed to be tapped, and upon further review, this was not accomplished. There have also been widespread, downstream effects of the GAP failure. For example, water that is supplied to farmlands in Kapur has been shown to cause widespread contamination of food crops, soil, livestock, and drinking water. It has been shown that the government inflated their positive results when discussing the GAP plan. I think it is safe to say that the GAP plan has failed miserably.

I agree with you in that the "easy" answer is no, the plan did not work. However, making mass changes to a river like the Ganges, with such important religious ties is not going to happen overnight and certainly not in a few years. It is important that the plan brought attention to the issue on a global scale, and the more recognition it gets, the more likely changes will be made in a positive direction. I think we will definitely see more progress in the future, and it will be interesting to see what PM Modi's administration does with the Ganges river clean-up program. The bottom line, like you said, is to balance environmentally conscious practices with culturally conscious practices, and this will take some time, so patience is key.

Re: weeeeeeeee by Elena PatelElena Patel, 09 May 2017 13:56

The Ganges is not just a body of water, but a physical manifestation of God himself. Therefore, thousands of people flock to the banks to perform rituals, take a bath, and even drink the water in the hopes that "drinking God" will keep them healthy and in good graces, so to speak. The Ganges is even used as a personal toilet for the many people who do not have access to indoor plumbing, so you can imagine that it doesn't help the situation, with human feces floating in the water. Besides the religious importance of the water itself, the Ganges is also used like any other river, in that transportation of goods and services is key to the ever evolving economy. It goes without saying that the use of the Ganges for transportation leads heavily to its pollution, and dumping of chemicals and non-biodegradable goods into the water contribute heavily to the situation we have now.

The importance of the Ganges in religion makes it hard to tackle the problem of pollution because there are many uses for the Ganges that cannot be taken away from the people of India. It's a difficult problem for sure and one that must be treated carefully due to the close ties of religion and the water.

The Ganges by Elena PatelElena Patel, 09 May 2017 13:50

I agree with Lauren. I think the Ganga Action Plan succeeded in raising awareness of the Ganges River however, has not shown long-term effects or solutions. I think that this Action Plan started off strong but has dwindled since. They were strong has finding out the risks of the Ganges River and the need for filtration of this river due to its vast use. However, the action plan has not come up with a long-term plan to abide by to get the river to safe levels and ways to keep the river clean. I think this plan was a great beginning to addressing the Ganges River, but I think a new plan may need to be revisited to keep up the care of the Ganges River.

-Russell Dowell

Very well said and I couldn't agree with you more. In the short term, the Ganga Action Plan did decrease levels of pollution in the Ganges River, set up treatment plants, and ultimately improved the water quality. However, as you said, this is not a sustainable long term solution. There needs to be more of an emphasis on education too attempt to change the habits of people. If this happens, that would be the solution of the problem and not just 'damage control'. However, some of the contribution of pollution to the river come from ceremonial religious practices. Because of this, people will be more resistant to education and change of their habits. Therefor, we would need to find a middle ground to allow the people to worship while keeping the river clean. Unfortunately, in this respect, the middle ground would just be a damage control plan to clear the river of ceremonial floating statues or removal of corpses after worship or funeral processions. In conclusion, education is a viable solution for most sources of pollution, but in respect to religious practice, we would need more damage control because people will not cease worship.

The Ganges River has many uses by the people of the Ganges. These people are said to use the River for religious significance. Water from the Ganges is used to cleanse for ritual purposes, bathing to wash away one's sins, provide holy healing powers, and cast the ashes of the dead to guide their souls to paradise. The water is also used for many religious festivals. The water is also used for economic significance such as for irrigation purposes. The people of the Ganges valley use the water for production and transportation of crops. The river is also used for many personal uses such as: bathing, cleaning utensils, sewage, laundry, brushing teeth, and drinking. Thus, the Ganges River is of upmost importance to these people and should require particular attention and cleaning.

-Russell Dowell

Use of the Ganges by RussellDowellVCOM-VCRussellDowellVCOM-VC, 09 May 2017 13:39
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