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New Delhi: If you are concerned about high pollution in the Ganga river, there’s now a way to play a part in getting it cleaned. Just click photographs of untreated discharge falling into the river or of any other waste material and upload it on the pollution watchdog’s new app to alert the authorities.

India’s pollution watchdog, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has released an app ‘Ganga Shravan Abhiyaan’ that allows citizens to take part in environmental surveillance and help in cleaning the Ganga river.

“Ganga Shravan Abhiyaan allows the general citizen to take part in environmental surveillance. Through this application public can participate in the policy decisions of the environment of their own surroundings," said a senior CPCB official, who did not wish to be identified.

“The application also facilitates display of data provided by the citizens on the dashboard and survey maps, in addition to the findings of scientific surveys. The app is in its trial version at present. After the initial feedback, we would update the application," the official added.

Cleaning up the Ganga river is one of the major promises made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who famously called the river his mother, in the run-up to the 2014 general election. However, even after two years in power, the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s Clean Ganga Mission has failed to take off.

Modi has repeatedly stressed on involving the public in government’s flagship programmes like Clean Ganga or Swachh Bharat (Clean India).

Such mobile apps are examples of public involvement, according to an official of the Union ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation.

“Through this application a common citizen can participate in Mission Clean Ganga by providing the information on untreated industrial and domestic discharges or any other waste and upload the photographs to alert the authorities. This will not just increase the surveillance on Ganga river manifold but would also keep authorities on their toes. It will also help the pollution control authorities at the Centre and the state who usually face shortage of staff," the CPCB official explained.

In May last year, the Union cabinet cleared an outlay of 20,000 crore over the next five years for the “Namami Gange" (Clean Ganga) project.

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), which is the nodal body for the clean-up drive, recently floated a tender and invited bids from interested companies for removal of floating objects.

The contractors would remove materials like flowers, coconut, plastic bottles and bags, food packets, dead bodies (human and animal), algae, logs, bamboos, other wood material, water hyacinth, other aquatic plants and any other floating waste from the river in the five states it passes through—Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.

The Ganga, often called India’s lifeline, is the country’s national river and has significant economic, environmental and cultural value attached to it. Originating in the Himalayas and flowing into the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Ganga travels for more than 2,500 km through the plains of northern and eastern India. After originating in Uttarakhand, it passes through 29 major cities, 23 small cities and 48 towns.

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