Feature

Ganges is impure

The week's news at a glance.

Allahabad, India

Hindu holy men threatened to boycott a massive purifying ceremony this week, saying the Ganges River is too filthy for bathing. Every six years, millions of Hindus immerse themselves in the Ganges for the Ardh Kumbh Mela, the ritual of washing away sins. But the Ganges has been growing increasingly contaminated, as thousands of gallons of industrial and human waste are dumped into the river each day. Indian health officials, acknowledging that levels of some pollutants are thousands of times the acceptable amount, opened a dam to pump fresh water into the Ganges near the immersion site. The dilution hasn’t helped much, though. “Until people learn not to throw corpses in the river or empty their rubbish there, and factories stop their pollution,” said riverside innkeeper M.P. Sahi, “nothing will change.”

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