Original paper

Sewage pollution of the River Ganga: an ongoing case study in Varanasi, India

Hamner, Steve; Pyke, Damon; Walker, Michelle; Pandey, Gopal; Mishra, Rajesh Kumar; Mishra, Veer Bhadra; Porter, Catherine; Ford, Timothy E.


The River Ganga in India is one of the most polluted large rivers of the world. Improvements in wastewater and sewage treatment infrastructure have not kept pace with the rapid population and industrial growth occurring over the past several decades. The Sankat Mochan Foundation (SMF) was founded in 1982 in response to public concern about sewage pollution of the River Ganga in Varanasi. The Government of India initiated the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in 1985 to address water pollution issues affecting the Ganga in Varanasi and a small number of other large cities. Surveillance and water quality testing conducted by the SMF quickly revealed many shortcomings of the GAP program. Since its completion, GAP has widely been acknowledged as a failure. Some thirty years later, the SMF continues its education and lobbying efforts to promote truly effective planning and action, and a site-specifi c technical solution, to remedy Ganga pollution. In this article, a summary of water quality monitoring data compiled by the Foundation beginning in 1992 is presented to highlight the magnitude of the sewage pollution problem in Varanasi.


ganga rivergangessewage pollution