Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol 25, Issue 3 2019; Page No.(1261-1266)

PHAGES FOR CLEAN WATER AND HEALTHIER LIFE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF GANGES AND KASHI

Ravi Kumar Gadwal, Harsh Narayan Tiwari and Nilanjan Das

Abstract

River Ganga or the Ganges is a major river of the Indian subcontinent associated with myth and reality with the land and people of India. In Hinduism, the river Ganga is personified as Goddess and people believe that bathing in the river Ganga causes the remission of sins and facilitates the attainment of salvation. Thus people from all over the country travel from distant places to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of the Ganga at Varanasi (also known popularly as Kashi) or other places located on the banks of this holy river such as Haridwar and Prayag (Allahabad). Among the other places located at Ganga river bank Kashi is one of the oldest city having more spiritual quotient compared to the other cities situated on the banks of this holy river. Unfortunately, in recent era, pollution of the Ganges poses a significant threat to human health and the larger environment as the river provides water to about 40% of India’s population across 11 states, serving an estimated population of 500 million people or more. Severely polluted with human waste and industrial as well as agricultural contaminants pressure is increasing every day on the river because of millions of tourists to Kashi throughout the year and dense population of the city. Several cleanup efforts have been made under the banner of Ganges Action Plan, National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA), Namami Ganges Programme Ganga Manthan, Ganga Mahasabha etc. to educate the people regarding antipollution measures along with preventing dumping of industrial or agricultural waste to the river or by preparing dams and pumping stations but still little improvement is noticed. Thus, installation of waste water treatment plants are extremely important to provide purified water to the people along with restriction on contact of human waste and agricultural and industrial effluents to the river water. But existing waste water treatment system targets mostly solid particles and bacteria to some extent but not the viruses or other complex microorganisms. A bacteriophage, also known informally as a phage, is a virus that infects and replicates within Bacteria. It can lyse a bacterial cell with acute specificity, which allows for the treatment of a targeted bacterial infection without the disruption of natural host microflora. Bacteriophage treatment can be an ideal alternative to current disinfectant strategies which will target almost all the bacteria rather than just the specific pathogenic bacteria of interest. In this review a discussion has been made on potential of bacteriophage as novel indicator and remover of pathogens from waste water emphasizing the need of installing waste water treatment device for the river Ganga in the context of Kashi.

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