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Every day 8250 million litres of sewage flows into the Ganga river and it's tributaries -- yet only a fraction of it is treated. Despite government commitments  to clean the river in the Ganga Action Plan, Mission Clean Ganga and the National Ganga River Basin Authority, sewage continues to pour into the national river.

Dozens of sewage treatment plants have been constructed, but they fail to capture all the sewage, remove harmful bacteria, and numerous electricity blackouts mean the power plants are often out of operation. We need a model city to demonstrate an effective solution that can be replicated.

The government has already expended over Rs.3000 crore over 20 years implementing ineffective systems while hundreds of thousands of people have contracted diseases from the  polluted water. We can not let poor planning for the Indian condition continue to destroy our river on which hundreds of millions depend.

The solution is simple and it exists. What holds it back is inaction at all levels.

The central government has already given approval in 2008 for such an effective and innovative solution in Varanasi. All that is needed is for the work to begin.

Varanasi, one of the most popular yet polluted cities on the Ganga is in Uttar Pradesh where the new Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has recently won a  massive majority. If the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh decides that this is a priority for the State, he can coordinate with the central government and begin work to clean the river.

Akhilesh generated hope with his mantra "Umeed ki cycle" and is keen to leave his mark espousing that he wants to listen to the people. Let's make sure he listens to the first demand from his public loud and clear on World Water Day - March 22 2012.

Please sign this petition to ask the new chief minister to do what all UP leaders have failed to do before him -- to clean the Ganga and begin by getting the solution right in Varanasi.


PS. Please also forward this petition to at least 10 friends and family members so we can get at least 10,000 people to sign!




[1] Comptroller & Auditor General report (2000)

[2] Central Pollution Control Board report (2001)

[3] Hamner, S., Tripathi, A., Mishra, R.K, Bouskill, N., Broadaway, S.C, Pyle, B.H, Ford, T.E. (2006). The role of water use patterns and sewage pollution in incidence of water-borne/enteric diseases along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India. International Journal of Environmental Health Research April 2006; 16(2): 113 – 132.

[4] Performance Audit of Water Pollution in India, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, 2011

[5] Law Commission of India, 186th Report on Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts, September 2003



Letter to
Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister, UP Akhilesh Yadav
Mananiya Akhilesh Yadavji, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Mananiya Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister on India & Chairman of the NGRBA,

The World Bank recently committed $1 billion to clean the Ganga from Kanpur to Varanasi, and I would like to request that you ensure this money is spent on implementing effective solutions.

We can all see with our own eyes that the sewage continues to pour into River Ganga. The Comptroller Auditor General report tabled in parliament in December 2011 confirms that the river remains critically polluted and that the 29 sewage
treatment plants installed so far are poorly equipped to treat sewage for Indian conditions.

The solution is simple - stop the sewage.

An effective model needs to be implemented so that it can be replicated in all river cities. Then Ganga will be clean by 2020 as promised in Mission Clean Ganga.

We need to:
1. Capture: Install an interceptor appropriate to each location to capture all the sewage before it flows into the Ganga.
2. Clean: Install sewage treatment plants that, completely treat the sewage, reclaim water and precious nutrients, require minimal electricity to operate, remove harmful disease causing pathogens and that sequester carbon.
3. Coordinate: Coordinate all existing bodies, national, state and local, making sure they are working together to ensure effective pilot models before replicating, and that sewage treatment capacity matches projected future population needs.
4. Check: Regularly verify that the sewage treatment system is functioning properly and rigorously monitor and report river water quality.

In Varanasi such an effective model has already been designed and approved. It features a gravity fed riverside interceptor sewer and an Advanced Integrated Wastewater Ponding System (AIWPS) sewage treatment plant, that, reclaims water and precious nutrients, requires minimal electricity to operate, removes harmful disease causing pathogens and sequesters carbon.

In 2008 the Government of India (GoI) approved a pilot AIWPS system to treat 37MLD (Million litres a day) of sewage in Varanasi and agreed to build a sewage interceptor pipe for 100MLD. The riverside interceptor and AIWPS were also agreed to by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) in 2010; by Varanasi Nagar Nigam, District Magistrate, Varanasi Mayor, National River Conservation Directorate and the Sankat Mochan Foundation in 1997; and also by a Technical Committee set up by the Environment Ministry in 1998.

The question isn't about approval, it's about implementation.

We ask you to begin in Varanasi now:
1. Construct a riverside gravity fed interceptor that captures the sewage flowing into the river from upstream of Nagwa to downstream of Varuna.
2. Construct the AIWPS sewage treatment pilot plant approved by the Government of India to treat 37MLD (Million litres a day) of sewage at Ramna.
3. Construct an AIWPS sewage treatment plant at Sota that will treat all the remaining sewage flowing into the Ganga River from Varanasi.
4. Coordinate a plan between all the different bodies running Ganga projects in Varanasi, including JNNURM, JICA, UP Jal Nigam, Varanasi Nagar Nigam, Government of India and Sankat Mochan Foundation.

I request you to begin the implementation of the projects approved by the NGRBA for Varanasi -- to Stop the Sewage and Clean Ganga Now!

The Undersigned

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