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India’s Namami Gange Ranked among Top 10 World Restoration Flagship Programmes by UN

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The Namami Gange project to restore India’s revered River Ganga has been acknowledged by the UN as one of the top 10 World Restoration Flagship programmes to restore the natural world. G. Ashok Kumar, Director General of Namami Gange, accepted the honour at the Convention on Biodiversity’s (15th) Conference in Montreal, Canada.

Restoration Flagship Programmes

Namami Gange was chosen from among more than 150 similar projects from more than 70 nations. They were chosen as part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, an international initiative coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The global decline of natural areas is something it aims to stop and reverse. An official release states that the approved initiatives, including Namami Gange, are now eligible to receive UN support, funding, or technical expertise.

Ganga’s Spiritual Value for Indians

On receiving the award, Kumar said, “Ganga is important for India as it is home to 40 per cent of India’s population, 2500 species of flora and fauna and 8.61 billion sq. km. basin, which is home to over 520 million people. Ganga is also very important from a spiritual point of view.” He further added, “The river is deeply linked to Indian heritage and civilisation and served as a metaphor for the nation’s beliefs, feelings, and collective consciousness.”
When discussing the factors that contributed to the NMCG receiving the award, Kumar emphasised that the project employed a multi-sectoral, holistic approach and introduced cutting-edge concepts for the thorough preservation of the riverine ecology and its health.
“Our projects are designed to ensure that no untreated water- sewage or industrial effluent flows to the Ganga river. 176 STPs (Sewage Treatment Plants) with the capacity to treat over 5000 Million Litres per Day are being constructed. The concerted efforts of the Mission have resulted in significantly enhanced capacity for treatment of sewage and industrial effluents in the Ganga basin; improvement in river water quality and biodiversity, manifested as an increased population of Dolphins and their juveniles, Turtles, Otters, Gharials and fishes like Hilsa; and over 30000 hectares afforested among others,” Kumar stated.

Namami Gange

Namami Gange is an Integrated Conservation Mission for the conservation of the Gange river system. The Union Government approved the Namami Gange Programme as a “Flagship Program” in June 2014 to achieve the twin goals of effective pollution reduction and protection and revitalisation of the National River Ganga.