A Survey on the main river of Ganga shows high biodiversity.
- The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had conducted a survey on the biodiversity of the Ganga marking the 12th anniversary of the declaration of Ganga as a national river.
- The WII is in the second phase of the survey on the entire mainstream of the Ganga river.
- The survey showed that 49% of the river has high biodiversity.
- The biodiversity includes Gangetic Dolphins and Otters with an increase in their number.
- This indicates reduced pollution levels and a healthier state of the river.
- The WII will conduct the second part of the Ganga survey and collects the data on how the river habitat has increased and its effect on the species living in the river.
- The first phase of the survey was conducted in 2017-19.
- The WII took the initiative on behalf of the National Mission for Clean Ganga.
- The National Mission for Clean Ganga is one of the flagship projects under the Ministry of Jalshakti.
- This is the first survey conducted in the country on the entire river.
- The Ganga flows through 11 states along with its tributaries and covers 26.3% of India’s total geographical area.
- But the main stem of Ganga flows through 5 states which include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.
- The high biodiversity areas of 10% fall around the national parks and sanctuaries like Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh’s Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary, and Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bihar.
- The high biodiversity areas are divided into six zones.
- The six zones are Devprayag to Rishikesh-61km, Bhitaura to Ghazipur-454Km, Makdumpur to Narora-147Km, Chhapra to Kahalgaon-296Km, Sahibganj to Rajmahal-34Km, and Baharampur to Barackpore-246Km.
- The biodiversity tracking includes aquatic and semi-aquatic species such as the Gangetic Dolphins, otters, gharials, turtles, and various waterbird species.
- Many species found in the main stem had been disappeared and are now coming back.
- Researchers found the nesting colonies of Indian Skimmer and Seibold’s a species of water snake which disappeared has now resurfaced.
- Researchers found many species that are traveling back from tributaries to the main stem of the river and also found new distributions of the pufferfish.
- In the 19th century, there were 10,000 Gangetic Dolphins were present and reduced to 3,526 by 2000.
- The dolphins disappeared entirely in Haridwar and most of the Yamuna.
- The rapid biodiversity of the Ganga is reduced due to the loss of suitable habitat conditions, change in the river’s morphology due to the construction of barrages and dams, agriculture, bank alteration, and sand mining.