Cry of a River
About 4,800 people die every day from waterborne diseases. The World Health Organization has determined that as much as 80% of the world’s illnesses are caused by people drinking water that is filled with harmful chemicals and toxins. In fact, less than 1% of the world’s water is safe for drinking.
In the past, the Ganges River in India used to be crystal clear, now it’s highly contaminated to the extent that it has become a green mess with debris floating on top. It used to be fit for drinking, but now raw sewage runs directly into it from the houses nearby.
Traditionally the Ganges was considered a holy river because its waters used to have medicinal properties, but due to contamination all those properties were lost. People bury their loved ones in the river. Sometimes they burn the bodies and scatter their ashes on it. They also bury their dead animals in the river, so it’s not uncommon to find decaying animal parts floating among the debris. There are also 400 tanneries along the banks of the Ganges and these factories pour their toxic waste directly into it. The waste contains well-known carcinogens.
In the rural areas, about 113 million houses don’t have toilets. Ironically, people do have mobile phones, laptops, and Internet connection. This means that residents do their business in alleys if it’s an emergency or out in the fields. As they relieve themselves they run the risk of getting bitten by snakes, and more than once a pregnant woman has been known to give birth out in the field. All this fecal matter ends up in the river.
People continue to drink the water. They say they don’t have a choice. Plus a huge percentage of those who live near the banks bathe in the Ganges every day. Also, the water is used to irrigate the crop. All of this while it is unfit for human consumption. No wonder diseases are spreading at an alarming rate.
Even though Calcutta has many lakes and rivers, the citizens have to wait for water to be brought to them by special water trucks. They claim that the water coming from the pumps is smelly and bitter.
Most Indians agree that Mother Ganges will soon die. They believe that when that happens, the universe will be lost. Maybe they’re right. Watch this thought-provoking film now.
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