It was found that the water collected by the devotees for puja contained Chromium 6. “Chromium is essential as well as toxic. The toxic form of chromium is hexavalent chromium. We have determined its content in the Ganga water collected during Kumbha Mela. It was 1 ng/ml, almost 50 times the permissible limit,” NCCM head Dr Sunil Jai Kumar said. Being exposed to such high levels of chromium can result in health hazards, including cancer.
The impurities were said to have mainly come from the Kanpur tanneries. “We have to develop technologies that can cleanse the Ganga of chemical impurities. It can be done,” said Sunil Jai Kumar responding to a query. A C Sahayam, who heads the bulk analysis wing at NCCM, demonstrated the system of purification of water containing carcinogens.
Sunil Jai Kumar explained the functioning of the National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials (NCCM). He said the NCCM had also developed fluoride testing kits with which visual detection of fluoride would be possible. The government had transferred the technology to different companies and the kits were made available to the public at low cost.
From hospital waste like X-ray films, CDs, and batteries, the centre has also developed a method to extract silver.
The NCCM, which conducted studies at Moula Ali in Hyderabad six months ago, found that groundwater contained 100 times more mercury than permissible limits. Centre checks water on 22 parameters including heavy metal contaminants. “For the electronics industry, we have the technology to analyse high purity materials of 99.9999 per cent or more,” Sunil Jai Kumar said.
- This puts the 450 million people who depend on her waters at great risk; millions who use Ganga’s waters fall sick to illnesses such as typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.
- In addition to the threat of pollution, this holy river is drying up. Thanks to climate change, the Tibetan glaciers that feed the headwaters of Ganga are melting four times faster than in Asia, and faster than anywhere in the world.
- The World Wildlife Fund listed the Ganges among the world’s five most endangered rivers.4
In response to this crisis, my teacher and spiritual guide, H.H. Puyja Swami Chidanand Saraswati Maharaj of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, has launched a campaign to preserve this great river: Ganga Action Parivar.
It’s a global family of all types of people. Young, old, rich, poor, unknown, famous, all castes, all creeds, all bound by a common heart that respects and loves Ma Ganga. And we’re committed to helping her become cleaner and healthier.
For Yogis in America, Ganga symbolizes the mythic rivers of the Vedas flowing abundantly from the Himalayas to the Pacific. We can honor Ma Ganga by enlivening and passing forward the grace of the teachings, seeking to cultivate within ourselves the cosmic waters of enlightening wisdom, and directing all our thoughts, words and actions towards the ocean, that pure potentiality that is peace.