By Chris Daener
Source-Ice cave 10,300 feet up sea level in the Himalayas.
Mouth-Bay of Bengal.
Length-1,557 mi long (2,507 km).
Tributaries- Yamuna (Jumna) river, Hoogly River (old channel).
Country-India and Bangladesh
Major Cities (Population)-Allahabad 806,486
Varanasi (or Benares) 1,026,467
Agriculture-The water of the Ganges is used extensively as irrigation. Floods of the
Ganges have enriched the soil. This makes the Ganges Valley a great agricultural region
in India. Fishing also is an important use of the Ganges.
Energy-Only 20% of the estimated capacity of dams has been developed. At the upper
part of the Ganges River, electricity is generated at the waterfalls of the Ganges River.
Transportation-Most of the transportation in India is by river, and the Ganges is the most
important of them.
Drinking-Many cities get their drinking water from the Ganges, which is a large problem
because the water is very polluted in some parts of the Ganges.
Industry-Major industries along the Ganges are food processing, clothes and other
textiles, leather, paper and pulp, manufacturing of tools, and chemical processing. In the
lower part of the river there is metal and other mineral production.
Dams-There are some dams on the Ganges mostly for flood control, but still there are lots
of floods. The floods have been made worse because of the logging above the river,
making the hills weaker (plant roots slow down eroded dirt), clogging up the river, then
Pollution-Pollution is a huge problem on the Ganges. People bathe in it, sometimes as
many as 10 million in one day; they have diseases and poor hygiene. People are cremated
and dumped in the river because they believe that the river will purify them (cremated
people are not burned well because they can't afford much kindle). Sewage is dumped
into the river by the people along it. Factories dump chemicals and waste into the river.
Agricultural chemicals wash into it. There's too much grazing of animals that make waste
which runs into the river. People believe that the river can purify itself so not very much
pollution control is done about it.
Interesting facts about the culture(s) that live along the Ganges River.
The Ganges is unique because it is considered holy by the Hindu people of India. They
believe it as a goddess, the Mother of India, because they made their civilization there.
Also they believe that the water heals you from sin, and if you die there you will have a
better after-life. Many of the cities have steps called Ghants along the riverbank so the
people can go into the water. They also wash their clothes in the river. Many places there
are times where massive bathing takes place, where millions of people go to bathe during
a few days.
My impressions about the Ganges River human dependency.
The people along the Ganges river depend on it for drinking, religion (of Hindus),
transportation, food, religious bathing (of Hindus), and industry (work). The Ganges is
overly used and is not used responsively by the people. They need to make more
pollution control along the Ganges River if they want to keep the Ganges water good
enough to use.
Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests
Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road
New Delhi - 110 003. (INDIA).