Environmental And Human Disruptions On The Ganges River

2372 words - 9 pages

The various sacred traditions and beliefs of the Hindus capture the attention of people from diverse cultures around the world. From believing the Brahman is perceived as an impersonal form of God to performing Bhakti yoga to surrendering the soul to God, Hinduism promotes innovative ideas to calm and relax the bod, mind, and spirit. In addition to these particular practices, Hindu’s respect their geographical surroundings of the Indus River Valley. It is said that from this “valley,” ritual purity was important and often achieved by bathing or using water. In accordance with the previous statement, a certain tradition sparks further research amongst historians. This tradition involves the cleansing and bathing of the body, the sacrificing of animals, and the burning of deceased bodies in the Ganges River. Today, these purifying rituals have arguably yielded rise to not only the most detrimental health problems and diseases spread amongst the bank-side dwellers of the sacred Ganges River, but also have caused unwanted environmental disruptions.
An article entitled “A Sacred River Under Assault” from the New York Times highlights the so-called “assaults” to the Ganges River, “…a sacred river, in a holy city, under assault from shovels, pickaxes and earth movers…large stones and boulders are pulverized by loud machines that coat orchards and villages in dust.” The Ganges River has become worth millions of dollars within recent years due to mining. The impact of the mining on the nearby towns and the river itself includes pollution, dust clouds, and “profound disrespect to Hinduism’s holiest river” (Morrison). This controversy has brought about multiple court proceedings and fasting rituals by advocacies of Hinduism which, unfortunately, have resulted in death. But why is mining alongside the river so vital and why are river dwellers becoming insanely ill? The simple answer is, “the presence of arsenic…” (Singh). The presence of this chemical has led to an increased rate of illness across the Indus River Valley population, and is also the leading cause of hydrolysis (Singh). The arsenic is like poison to the mouth and the skin. Consequently, “The uproar caused court’s to rule “that local farmers are forced to sell their barren plots at fire-sale prices to the very companies that had ruined them” (Morrison). Clearly, the effects of mining have not only detrimental effects on the environment surrounding the Ganges, but it affects the bathers and drinkers as well.
In addition to the demolition brought about by the mining controversy, global warming harvests superfluous ways in which the Ganges River is affected by the environment. From the Washington Post, an article entitled “A Sacred River Endangered by Global Warming” emerges discussing the affects brought about by global warming. Besides being a river known for “purifying the body,” Hindus also pray on the sacred banks of the river to the goddess, Ganga Ma, asking for...

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