MAR 17, 2019 9:12 AM PDT

Can flesh-eating turtles clean the Ganges?

More than 500 million people depend on the Ganges River as their main source of water. The Ganges River also holds great spiritual significance and is regarded as sacred by Hindus, who come here to burn their dead. According to some sources, 150 million liters of sewage is leaked into the river per day, representing the human waste of over one million people. In addition to the overwhelming amount of sewage, decomposing bodies also end up in the river from river-side crematoriums and tanneries release heavy metals and toxins into the river. Because so many people depend on the Ganges for drinking water, contaminated water puts millions at risk for water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid, and viral diarrhea. 

But despite a multi-billion dollar clean-up initiative by India, the river remains dangerously polluted. The Indian government launched a $3 billion clean-up plan involving the construction of new water-treatment facilities as well as breeding programs of flesh-eating turtles that can eliminate the waste of dead bodies in the river. Unfortunately, the plan has seen little action, and no new facility plants have been constructed within the three years since the program was launched.

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 17, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 17, 2019
What to Expect From Boeing's Starliner Spacecraft
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program sports two major contenders for sending astronauts to the International Space Station from American soil for the first...
DEC 29, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 29, 2019
Anthills Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg
At first glance, an anthill looks like a small pile of sand on the Earth with a tiny hole in the top that ants crawl into to evade danger, but they’r...
JAN 06, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 06, 2020
Every River Leap a Proboscis Monkey Makes Could be its Last
Leaves are one of the most essential components of a proboscis monkey’s diet, and in some cases, getting to the tastiest leaves means taking an enorm...
JAN 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 21, 2020
Scientists Assess GHG Emissions Related to Palm Oil Land Conversion
Palm oil production remains problematic in several ways, and a new study from researchers at the University of Nottingham has quantified one of these probl...
JAN 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 23, 2020
Meet SF6, Our Frenemy in Fighting Climate Change
Sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, is a non-flammable, non-toxic, synthetic gas. First discovered back in 1901, this odorless and colorless gas is commonly used...
FEB 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 16, 2020
These Jellyfish Deliver Stings Without Touching You
Most people are accustomed to thinking that if you avoid a jellyfish’s tentacles while swimming in the ocean, then you won’t be stung. For the...
Loading Comments...