‘Ganga clean­ing is gi­gan­tic task but doable, just like river Rhine’

DNA (Delhi) - - INDIA - Correspondent@dnain­dia.net

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

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