‘Ganga cleaning is gigantic task but doable, just like river Rhine’
New Delhi: The task of cleaning river Ganga, though gigantic, is doable and India can draw lessons from the three decade-long cleaning of river Rhine, said Jasper Wieck, Charge d’Affaires in German embassy here on Thursday. In 2016, India and Germany had signed an implementation agreement for Ganga Rejuvenation under the flagship Namami Gange Programme. Under this agreement, Germany is also providing India a soft loan of 120 million euro through German Development Bank KfW.
“In Germany, both Rhine and Danube rivers today have water of drinking water quality. It was not possible to walk along the river fronts, Rhine was dying and had turned into a marsh,” said Wieck. He added, “It (cleaning Ganga) is achievable. You can turn around a largely polluted river into one with clean water where you can swim without any risk. You need time, money and the right approach.”
Wieck’s comments come in the backdrop of Congress party’s criticism of the government’s tardy progress on the Prime Minister’s flagship Namami Gange project. The
You can turn around a largely polluted river into one with clean water where you can swim Jasper Wieck,
Charge d’Affaires, German Embassy, Delhi
Congress party had said last week that despite expenditure of over Rs 2,000 crore since 2015, pollution in the river remains high.
Wieck said that the Rhine cleaning programme began in 1970, took 30 years and 45 billion euros was spent. “The slogan was Salmon 2000 because we want to bring salmon fish back into the river by 2000. The project was completed in 1997. Ganga still has 27 years to go, it is just four years of Namami Gange,” he said.
As part of its collaboration, German International Cooperation (GIZ) is working in Uttarakhand to reduce the discharge of untreated effluents in the Ganga at Haridwar and Rishikesh.
GIZ is also working with schools and has planned a concept called ‘Ganga Book ’on the lines of the ‘Danube Book’ that would have the economic, mythological and cultural information on Ganga. It would also inform on how to keep the river clean, and how to prevent pollution.
Photo for representation