Children who gathered here in a large numbers formed a human chain and stood along the river bank in an effort to spread awareness on protecting the Holy river. Dressed colorfully resembling Gods, children urged the public to stop polluting the river as pollution also leads to disease. "Garbage should not be thrown in the Ganga and animals should not be bathed in the river. I have acquired this form of Lord Shiva to spread the message that people must strive to save Ganga and should not let it die because if Ganga dies than our life will also be threatened," said Yugul Kishore Chaturvedi, a student.
Since Manmohan Singh plans to visit Varanasi, we want to appeal for an initiative to save the Ganga so that garbage and sewage are not disposed in the river and activities polluting the river are prevented. We want an assurance from him that steps will taken in this regard," said Kripa Sindhu, another student.
The Ganga clean up operation will be a herculean effort and the Government has to take concrete steps in implementing the plans.
"Although, plans and initiatives like the Ganga Action plan have been proposed by the Centre and the state, it also needs to be implemented at all levels and we will appeal to the Prime Minister to execute the plans at the earliest. Also we request people to help in keeping the river Ganga clean," said Father Santiago, head priest, Varanasi Church.
The principal sources of pollution are domestic and industrial wastes. Conservative estimates put the effluents flowing into Ganges at 1.7 billion litres each day, out of which 1.4 billion litres is untreated.
Nearly 88 per cent of the pollution originates in the 27 cities that are located along the river's banks and the banks of its tributaries.
According to a recent official report, only 39 percent of the primary target of the Ganga Action Plan, which the Central Government had started in 1985, has been met so far.
The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) was initiated by late Prime Minster Indira Gandhi. She ordered a comprehensive survey of the pollution in 1979.
After five years, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) published two comprehensive reports, which formed the base for the action plan to clean up the Ganga.