Living Ganga Programme
An emblem of India’s rich cultural heritage, the Ganga is unarguably one of the world’s major river systems.
The mighty Ganges, which flows for 2,500 km from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, is an emblem of India’s rich culture and ecology. Its basin covers roughly 30% India’s land area and is home to 500 million people. It also supports over 140 fish species and is home to the world’s only population of mangrove-inhabiting tigers.
The ecosystem integrity, the goods and services offered by the river is getting adversely affected by the changes in quantity, quality and flow regimes in the river. Reasons are many: In the upper Himalayan reaches the flow in the river is threatened by water abstractions for existing as well as proposed hydropower. While in the plains, abstractions for agriculture, urban and industrial uses leave the river lean and polluted. As the river's dynamics have been altered by diversions and unproductive uses, the freshwater flow has reduced, resulting in a reduction in the assimilative capacity of rivers. Also partial and untreated sewage and toxic industrial effluents are dumped into it, making the river lifeless. A study by the Central Pollution Control Board in 2007 showed that Ganga contributed to 40% of the polluted river stretches in India.
What we are doing to save the Ganges?
WWF-India's Living Ganga Programme focuses on the first 800km of the river system, from Gangotri to Kanpur. WWF has worked with industry, city authorities and communities to show how water can be saved, pollution can be reduced, and hydropower developed in a sustainable manner. We have also been actively working to increase the populations of threatened species who will benefit from a cleaner river. Read more...