India’s River Systems Being Fouled By Raw Sewage
Environmental news from the world’s soon-to-be most populous nation just keeps getting worse. A study put forth this week by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment has found that up to 80 percent of India’s urban sewage is going untreated and winding up in the country’s extensive river systems.
The news comes as India’s Hindus wrap up Kumbh Mela, a major religious pilgrimage held along the banks of the Ganges River — a waterway of great spiritual significance in Hinduism. The festival is considered to be the world’s largest religious gathering, with nearly 100 million visitors expected to bathe in waters of the sacred Ganges before the holiday’s end this upcoming Sunday.
Yet perhaps unbeknownst to the majority of celebrants this year is how severe the pollution has become in the waters they bathe in. Worse still, however, is how the situation affects the other 90 percent of the country. Largely rural India is almost completely reliant on its groundwater resources, which due to an acute lack of sewage management, are absorbing much of the waste produced by rapidly urbanizing parts of the country.