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Culture, Purity and Pollution in the Ganges River Basin World Water Forum Istanbul, March 20, 2009. Kelly D. Alley, Professor of Anthropology, Auburn University. Purity and Impurity. pure-impure: pavitra/apavitra, suddha/asudhha

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culture purity and pollution in the ganges river basin world water forum istanbul march 20 2009

Culture, Purity and Pollution in the Ganges River Basin World Water ForumIstanbul, March 20, 2009

Kelly D. Alley, Professor of Anthropology, Auburn University

purity and impurity
Purity and Impurity
  • pure-impure: pavitra/apavitra, suddha/asudhha
  • Pure things: Ganga, saints, gold, Brahmans, ritual implements
  • impure things: bodily substances, dead bodies, menstrual blood, birth, death, leather, hair
clean and unclean
Clean and unclean
  • clean-unclean: saaf/ganda, svaccha/asvaccha
  • clean things: bathed bodies, swept ghats, washed clothes
  • unclean things: unbathed bodies, unswept ghats, unwashed clothes, pan spit, excrement, wastewater drains, and in some cases, corpses floating in the river
gandagi
Gandagi
  • pan spit, excrement
  • dirty wastewater drains and solid waste
  • soap from bathing and washing
  • bad business
  • Moral degeneracy in the Kali Yuga
can religious groups and institutions help
Can religious groups and institutions help?
  • Create public awareness
  • Mobilize sentiment toward specific goals
  • Put pressure on agencies controlling water and wastewater management
  • Maintain a public appreciation for and worship of rivers
  • Connect the study of ecology, hydrology and water resources to fundamental values, beliefs and worldviews
objective of ganga action plan phase i
Objective of Ganga Action Plan Phase I

At the time of launching the main objective of GAP was to improve the water quality of Ganga to acceptable standards by preventing the pollution load reaching the river. However, as decided in a meeting of the Monitoring Committee in June, 1987, under the Chairmanship of Prof. M.G.K. Menon, then Member, Planning Commission, the objective of GAP was recast as restoring the river water quality to the Bathing Class standard which is as follows:

national river conservation directorate
NationalRiver Conservation Directorate

The Central Ganga Authority, established in 1985 under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, lays down the policies for works to be taken up under the Ganga Action Plan. With the approval of the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) in July 1995, the Central Ganga Authority has been redesignated as the NATIONAL RIVER CONSERVATION DIRECTORATE (NRCD). The NRCD coordinates the implementation of the schemes under the Ganga and other Action Plans.

impact of schemes on health
Impact of Schemes on Health

The efficacy of the schemes taken up under the Ganga Action Plan in the towns of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Nabadweep (West Bengal) was evaluated for the effects on the health of the people particularly those who were directly affected by Ganga water. All India Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, Calcutta along with NEERI, Nagpur carried out studies in these towns. The studies revealed that as the projects under GAP were being completed there was a decreasing trend in the incidence of water borne diseases. However, in case of sewage farm workers handling untreated sewage, there was prevalence of diarrhea, helminthic infection, skin diseases and respiratory tract infection.

slide59

The National Water Development Agency Society is the apex body of the National Water Development Agency and meets at least once in a year to review the progress and performance of the Agency towards the attainment of its objectives and to give such policy directions as it deems fit. The Hon’ble Union Minister of Water Resources is the President of the Society. The President exercises such powers for the conduct of the business of the society as may be vested in him by the society. In addition, he has powers to review periodically the work and progress of the Society and appoint Committees or Commissions for the efficient operation of the Society or to enquire into or report on the affairs of the Society and pass such orders as he considers proper.

30 proposed and named river links
30 Proposed and Named River Links
  • Source: http://rrtd.nic.in/LINKING%20RIVERS.htm, http://wrmin.nic.in/
national environmental engineering research institute
National Environmental Engineering Research Institute

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) strives to provide scientific, industrial research and development that maximizes the economic & environmental and social benefit for  the people of India. CSIR, with its complement of 10,000 highly  qualified scientific & technical personnel, is amongst the largest R&D organization in the world for scientific and industrial  research. 

National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a constituent laboratory of CSIR endeavours to provide Leadership in environmental science and engineering for sustainable development. NEERI dedicates itself in the service of mankind by providing innovative and effective solutions to environmental and natural resource problems.

problem areas iyer
Problem areas (Iyer)

forecasts of water scarcity, food insecurity; drought-prone areas, arid zones, and other water-short areas

flood-related damages and loss

bitter and divisive inter-State river-water disputes and ineffectiveness of the constitutional conflict-resolution mechanism

unresolved issues relating to rivers with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh

acute water conflicts between users (agriculture / industry/ drinking water) and between areas (rural / urban)

difficulties meeting UN Millenium Development Goals for safe drinking water and sanitation facilities

depletion of groundwater aquifers

shrinking of wetlands

pollution and contamination of water sources

overall waste of water

uncertainties arising from predictions of climate change

slide76

The National Water Development Agency Society is the apex body of the National Water Development Agency and meets at least once in a year to review the progress and performance of the Agency towards the attainment of its objectives and to give such policy directions as it deems fit. The Hon’ble Union Minister of Water Resources is the President of the Society. The President exercises such powers for the conduct of the business of the society as may be vested in him by the society. In addition, he has powers to review periodically the work and progress of the Society and appoint Committees or Commissions for the efficient operation of the Society or to enquire into or report on the affairs of the Society and pass such orders as he considers proper.

30 proposed and named river links1
30 Proposed and Named River Links
  • Source: http://rrtd.nic.in/LINKING%20RIVERS.htm, http://wrmin.nic.in/
national environmental engineering research institute1
National Environmental Engineering Research Institute

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) strives to provide scientific, industrial research and development that maximizes the economic & environmental and social benefit for  the people of India. CSIR, with its complement of 10,000 highly  qualified scientific & technical personnel, is amongst the largest R&D organization in the world for scientific and industrial  research. 

National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a constituent laboratory of CSIR endeavours to provide Leadership in environmental science and engineering for sustainable development. NEERI dedicates itself in the service of mankind by providing innovative and effective solutions to environmental and natural resource problems.

problem areas iyer1
Problem areas (Iyer)

forecasts of water scarcity, food insecurity; drought-prone areas, arid zones, and other water-short areas

flood-related damages and loss

bitter and divisive inter-State river-water disputes and ineffectiveness of the constitutional conflict-resolution mechanism

unresolved issues relating to rivers with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh

acute water conflicts between users (agriculture / industry/ drinking water) and between areas (rural / urban)

difficulties meeting UN Millenium Development Goals for safe drinking water and sanitation facilities

depletion of groundwater aquifers

shrinking of wetlands

pollution and contamination of water sources

overall waste of water

uncertainties arising from predictions of climate change