India Spending $956 Million on Waste Plants Along Ganges

India is spending 59 billion rupees ($956 million) on sewage and waste treatment to begin cleaning its biggest and holiest waterway, the Ganges River.

Of the 80 effluent treatment and water-monitoring projects planned by the National Ganga River Basin Authority in five states, 25 have been completed, Sanwar Lal Jat, India’s junior water minister, said Thursday.

The authority, formed in 2009, plans to build 702 million liters (185 million gallons) a day of sewage-treatment capacity across the five states to help improve the health of India’s most threatened river, Jat said in reply to a question from parliament members. Of this, 123 million liters a day has been built so far.

The minister said 501 million liters of industrial waste and 3.54 billion liters of wastewater from households in 56 cities along the Ganges pollute its waters every day, citing the Central Pollution Control Board. The 2,525-kilometer (1,570-mile) Ganges that originates from a Himalayan glacier is worshiped by Hindu pilgrims and is reverently called mother.

The board has identified 150 polluted stretches along 121 Indian rivers where the government needs to spend funds cleaning waters, Jat said in reply to another question.

Of the 60 billion rupees approved by India’s federal government for cleaning rivers in 21 states over the last three years and current financial year, only 13.7 billion rupees have been made available to create 409 million liters a day of sewage-treatment capacity, the minister also said.

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