UTTARAKHAND/UTTAR PRADESH :
The quality of water in River Ganga in Haridwar and Varanasi has improved significantly and marine life is now visible in the river as the nationwide lockdown has led to reduction in the dumping of industrial waste into it.
In Haridwar, Har Ki Pauri Ghat, which used to be surrounded by lakh of pilgrims per day, is closed for the visitors amid the lockdown to contain coronavirus spread.
"The Ganga is clean and pure today. Fish and other marine life is visible in the water. The ghats are fully clean," Har Ki Pauri temple priest told ANI.
"We all want to see Ganga in such a beautiful state. It is a temporary phase due to lockdown. We will be happy if it remains in such a state even after devotees' visit here," another priest said.
With industries shut and people staying home, the quality of Ganga river water has also witnessed a significant improvement of around "40 to 50 per cent" in Varansi since March 24, the day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"1/10th of the pollution in Ganga river comes from industries. As industries are shut due to lockdown, the situation has become better. We have seen 40-50 per cent improvement in the Ganga. It is a significant development," Dr PK Mishra, Professor at Chemical Engineering and Technology, IIT-BHU, told ANI here.
"Due to rainfall on March 15-16 in areas where Ganga flows, the water level has also increased, which means that its cleaning capacity has also increased. There is a considerable improvement if we look at the pre-lockdown period and after March 24," he added.
Locals in Varanasi are happy. "There is a lot of difference when we see the water of the Ganga river today and what used to be earlier. Today, the water looks clean. One of the biggest reasons behind this is that today all factories are closed. People are not taking bath at the ghats. If this is the condition in 10 days, then I believe Ganga river will be like it used to be earlier," one local said.
Another one added: "The water in the Ganga river has become clean during the lockdown. Nobody must have thought that the lockdown would have such an impact on the weather. We feel happy looking at the clean water in the river Ganga."
Prime Minister Modi had on March 24 announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown as a precautionary measure to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Besides Varanasi, locals in Kanpur also resonated similar sentiments and said that water in the Ganga river has seen improvement. "The water of Ganga is clean as compared to earlier. It is good to see this," said a local. (ANI)