17 January 2018

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07/14/2017 INDIA

Environmental court bans dumping of trash and bodies in the Ganges

The ordinance applies to within 500 meters of the shore. You cannot build within 100 meters. Fines of up to 680 euros for those who break the rules. The leather-making industries in Uttar Pradesh will need to be moved. Ban on setting corpses afloat in river as per Hindus funerary tradition

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - From now on it will no longer be possible to dump waste or human remains in the waters of the Ganges, nor within 500 meters from the shore. The National Environmental Tribunal (NGT), the largest institute on environmental protection in India decided yesterday. Judges, led by President Swatanter Kumar, also established a "non-construction" area within 100 meters from the shore of the river sacred for THE Hindu religion. Anyone who violates these provisions can be fined up to 50,000 rupees (680 euros).

The order of the Court of First Instance aims at the purification of the highly polluted waters of the Ganges. Judges have argued that the riverbed from Haridwar, Uttarakhand State, Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, requires urgent action. Recently, local courts have also intervened on the question of the pollution of the sacred river, which have attempted to protect the waters by defining the Ganges as a "living being". The Supreme Court rejected this interpretation, however.

What worries most is pollution due to industrial discharges, especially those of from the tanning industries. Along the river in Uttar Pradesh there are hundreds of tanneries employing mostly Muslims. The Tribunal ordered government led by Yogi Adityanath, to transfer companies from the Kanpur area to the Unnao industrial area, or wherever they will not damage the ecosystem within a six-month period.

The decision also explicitly hampers the Hindu religious community. Funeral rituals are celebrated on the banks of the Ganges and ashes dissolved in the waters. However,  relatives who cannot cremate their dead because of the cost, entrust the corpses of their loved ones to the river. For this, the tribunal has asked the two Indian states to formulate guidelines for the religious activities that take place at the ghats.

The court appointed a monitoring committee, led by the Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, which collects experts and professors in the field of environment. Analysts point out, however, that the decisions of the judiciary are of a binding value, but are often challenged in the High State Courts and in front of the Supreme Court. NGT then does not have security forces to enforce its decisions, but relies on individual states.

See also

22/03/2017 15:41:00 INDIA
The Ganges is a "living being." Raghuvanshi: historic decision, pulls wool from eyes of Hindu nationalists

The High Court of Uttarakhand equates the waters of the sacred river for Hindus to a human being. The goal is to reduce the pollution caused by industrialization and urbanization. Indian activist: "The Hindu radicals use pollution to come to power." The courts must also take action for Dalits who live on the river banks.

14/07/2011 INDIA
A billion dollars to clean up a filthy Ganges
The river worshipped by Hindus and vital to India is now an open sewer, full of faecal bacteria, unfit for bathing or farming. Now the World Bank will fund a restoration project, but experts express doubts about its success.

24/08/2016 09:16:00 INDIA
Varanasi, as Ganges overflows, the dead cremated on rooftops

Rains fall relentlessly for over two months. In Uttar Pradesh they have killed 40 people and forced at least another 100 thousand to flee their homes. For Hindus, a funeral rite on the banks of the sacred river frees the body from the cycle of rebirth.

14/01/2013 INDIA
India, 10 million pilgrims expected for the beginning of the Kumbh Mela
For 55 days, more than 100 million Hindus will bathe in the holy waters of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Sarawati. The Kumbh Mela falls every 12 years and is one of the most important Hindu festivals. Hygiene alarm: the high rate of pollution of waterways, the authorities have set up field hospitals and toilets.

04/12/2009 INDIA
World Bank loan for rehabilitation of the Ganges
The sacred river is one of the most polluted in the world. The problem also extends to its tributaries. Approximately 400 million people live along the river banks. Other rehabilitation programs have come to no end. The pollution produces tumours in the population.

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