Save India’s Holiest River


Target: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Goal: Stop the pollution of the Ganges River

The Ganges River is considered sacred, one of India’s holiest rivers for devout Hindus. But as of modern times, it has become one of the world’s most polluted waterways. Garbage, industrial runoff, sewage, toxic chemicals, human and animal carcasses, and soap from traditional washing has led to a river choked with patches of garbage and which is dangerous to human beings and wildlife—such as the Ganges River dolphin—in equal measures. We must ask that the Indian government make a concerted effort to end pollution in the face of a serious, potentially terminal decline.

As a spiritual place, the Ganges River is used for human cremation and purification rituals, vitally important to the belief systems of Hindus. Yet it is also an economic lifeline, with a huge population that relies on this river for food, water, and agriculture. Lax regulations on industry place a massive strain on the river, and tons of sewage and runoff enter the waters every day, sickening people and wildlife. Infant deaths caused by tainted water are just one problem among many on the human front, others being water-borne pathogens, mercury levels in fish, and the drinking of tainted water.

Human beings are not the only ones threatened. Aquatic life is also under threat, contending with pesticides, industrial runoff, toxic waste, and heavy metal poisoning that stresses their immune systems or outright poisons them. Though the Ganges can still retain oxygen, fish and other animals such as the critically endangered gharial face difficulties in surviving such a polluted environment.  The agricultural use of the Ganges also threatens non-aquatic life, with irrigation introducing pollution into the terrestrial environment.

Cleanup efforts have been made before, but never successfully. This must change. The pollution of the Ganges may very well lead to an ultimate decline and near-complete destruction of aquatic life that can no longer survive, including the severely endangered river dolphin. The lives of India’s people are threatened as well, by sickness and death from consuming the water. Also of concern is further widespread contamination of all of India’s waterways and reservoirs should lax regulations go unchanged. We must demand the government take action before a collapse of India’s holiest river occurs.


Dear Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,

The Ganges River is in dire need of protection. Pollution has continued unchecked as India’s population and industry grows, and as a result the Ganges is now one of the world’s most polluted rivers. Not only does this threaten and endanger the lives of India’s people—many of whom rely on the river for agricultural, economic, and spiritual needs—but it also threatens the wildlife and environment of India. The rare Ganges River dolphin struggles to survive, and other aquatic life is faced with rising levels of pesticides, toxic runoff, and heavy metals that poison and kill them. Lax and unenforced regulations have for too long allowed this contamination to continue.

I must demand that something be done. Clean-up efforts in the past have failed, but the health of the Ganges must be made a priority. Industrial regulations—including treatment of human waste—need to be enforced and strengthened to prevent further pollution. This cannot continue; the Ganges is in danger of collapse, and only by taking immediate, necessary action can this be prevented.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Konstantinos Mavroudis via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Agree with you and support you. Publicize those companies which pollute and and encourage people to stop using their products.

    BTW, the river’s correct name is Ganga. No Indian language refers to it as Ganges.

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