News: The Wildlife Institute of India has released a survey on the Ganges river. The survey was conducted on behalf of the National Mission for Clean Ganga undertaken by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
Key Highlights from the Survey:
- Increase in Biodiversity: 49% of the Ganges river is high on biodiversity with Gangetic Dolphins and Otters in the river have increased. This indicates that the pollution level in the river has decreased and the river is in a healthy state.
- Biodiversity Areas: 10% of the high biodiversity areas fall alongside national parks and sanctuaries such as Rajaji national park in Uttarakhand, Hastinapur wildlife sanctuary in UP, and Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bihar.
- Ganga River: The Ganga and its tributaries flow through 11 states and cover 26.3% of the country’s total geographical area. But its main stem flows through five states — Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
- Why is the threat to Ganga’s biodiversity real?
- Freshwater ecosystems account for 0.01% of the earth’s surface water but 10% of species.
- According to the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), decline in diversity of freshwater species is the highest and surpasses losses in marine and terrestrial species.
- The highest loss of freshwater biodiversity has been reported from the Indian subcontinent, specifically the Gangetic plains.
- Wildlife Institute of India(WII): It was established in 1982 as an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change. It carries out wildlife research in areas of study like Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Wildlife Policy, Wildlife Management among others. Headquarters: Dehradun, India.