- A research paper highlighted the worsening water quality of Ganga river after the Ganga Sagar Mela celebrated on Sagar Islands (West Bengal)
- A paper titled ‘Pollution and its consequences at Ganga Sagar mass bathing in India’, was published recently in the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability.
- Findings of the study:
- The number of pilgrims descending on the Sagar Island to take a dip at the place where the Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal, has risen from 2 lakh in 1990 to 20 lakh in 2018.
- A sharp deterioration in water quality parameters between the pre-mela and post-mela period at Sagar Islands was noted.
- For instance, the concentration of faecal coliform bacteria, which was 22 MPN (most probable number) in 100 ml of water two weeks before the mela, was found to be 9,963 MPN two weeks after the mela.
- Moreover outbreak of diseases like cholera, dysentery, and skin disease was predominant in the post-Ganga Sagar Mela period.
- About the Ganga Sagar Mela:
- It is held in the month of January-February, on the Ganga Sagar Island, at the mouth of the stream Hooghly in Bengal.
- It is held every year during Makar Sankranti.
- The focus of the administration is mostly on managing the mela, but it should also manage the pollution with sustainable strategies.
- The wastewater treatment plant can be set up to make the mela plastic-free to prevent plastics from clogging the ocean
- About Sagar Islands:
- Sagar is the biggest island of the Sundarbans archipelago, with a population of about 2.12 lakh people.
- Several studies have shown that the island is at the frontline of climate change, facing serious erosion on its east and west sides due to rising sea level and tidal surges.