अनंत वन अविरल धारा
The river Ganga is often called the cradle of human civilization in India .One of the most sacred rivers in the world, Ganga is the spiritual lifeline of the people in the Indian subcontinent. Increasing population and consequent exponential growth of industrialization and urbanization have led to excessive degradation of many rivers, including Ganga in many stretches. The major concerns are the altered water regime, dumping of industrial and sewage waste into river water, construction of dams, siltation deforestation and consequent drastic reduction in self-cleaning ability of the river. Thus various cross sectoral agencies and stakeholders need to participate in the process which aims at improving the quality and quantity of water in Ganga.
With this aim, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun is trying to make an effort to develop a Detailed Project Report (DPR) under the ages of National Mission for Clean Ganga through Forestry interventions for Ganga. The project will primarily aim to identify critical areas and develop suitable bio-filtration interventions in urban, agriculture and natural landscapes along the course of river Ganga. This DPR will also try to examine increased income generation alternatives, especially in the catchment areas to reduce degradation. For the success of the programme, all stakeholders need to be involved in the project formulation process. Such stakeholders would include farmers, fishermen, industry owners, foresters, academicians, researchers, members of civil society and citizens including school children.
This website has been launched to enable us to interact with stakeholders and also to enable the general public to access information on the activities being proposed for the programme. We appeal to all stakeholders to provide their inputs on the various activities and interventions. We look forward to your support for the success of the programme.
DPR PREPARATION OF FORESTRY INTERVENTIONS FOR GANGA
The Ganges is the most sacred river and lifeline to millions of Indians. The mainstream of the river Ganga is roughly 2,525 km in length measured from the river’s source in the Gangotri Glacier to the Bay of Bengal. The river Ganga has its basin spread over an area of roughly one million km2inthe states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal spread over three agro-climatic regions namely Upper Gangetic Plain, Middle Gangetic Plain and lower Gangetic Plain region (Figure 1). This basin is one of the most densely populated river basins in the world, supporting densely populated cities, towns, and villages. However, increased population growth and associated industrial development, construction of dams and deforestation have influenced the water flow regime adversely. Furthermore, an increased dumping of waste water into the river has aggravated the problem by reducing the self-cleansing capacity of river through dilution maintained by ecological flow. Major concerns focus on consequences of land-use change, which may alter the amount of infiltration into the groundwater system and can affect the quality of water discharged from a watershed. Treatment of its catchment and riparian area by forestry intervention on landscape level; biodiversity conservation in eco sensitive zones of river catchment, introduction of Biological Filters such as micro-organisms, plants and trees together with focused active community participation have been identified as the important interventional options which can play significant role in augmenting the flow of river. Thus there is a need of wider participation of various agencies and stakeholders to augment the quantity and quality of water in the river Ganga.
Figure 1. River Ganga overlaid on forest cover map of FSI (Year 2009)
A riparian zone or riparian area (Figure. 2) is the interface between land and a river or stream and also areas that surround water sources. The riparian zone is critical to the health of every stream and its surroundings environment. It connects the upland zone (the area of the watershed that does not receive regular flooding by a stream) to the aquatic zone (the area of the stream channel covered by water, controlling the flow of water, sediment, nutrients, and organisms between the two). Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the fifteen terrestrial biomes of the earth. Plant habitats and communities along the river margins and banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants.They support high soil moisture and associated vegetation. Riparian vegetation has an important role in filtering sediment and pollutants. In-situ filtrations of surface runoff water reduce the sediment yield and therefore, maintain actual carrying capacity of river and finally protect the flood in the nearby habitations. Bamboo is sometimes planted in tropical riparian areas to conserve soil and water. However, in a study in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, it was found that bamboo was less effective for this purpose than native grass; grass strip was recommended alongside bamboo stands to enhance the trapping of sediments.
Biological filters have the natural ability to filter and degrade contaminants flowing in waste water. Several plant species and microbes have been identified, which can act as effective biological filters and have capabilities of breaking down the hazardous organic substances of the environment (soil & water) including the xenobiotic compounds such as pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and the chlorinated substances like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Figure 2. Schematic diagram of development of riparian zone with biological filter
Apart from other technological interventions by different research institutes, Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun proposes for a broader extensive action plan to augment water flow through forestry intervention and to treat the water through biological filters under this project, which will have two phases namely Project Development Phase (6-8 months) and Project Implementation Phase (5 -10 years). Project Development Phase will be used for preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for initial 5 years. Based on annual monitoring and evaluation of the project, DPR for next 5 years will be developed /modified.
Objectives and aims of the project:
- Identification and prioritization of critical areas/villages for the implementation of the proposed plan based upon the initial investigations and stakeholder consultations.
- Identify possibilities for regeneration/improvement of forest catchment areas and its treatment through appropriate native local species for augmenting water flow.
- Dovetailing the ongoing forestry activities of the states which can address the issues of Ganga rejuvenation.
- Develop consensus among various stake holders like local communities, fishing community, industries, the NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations), Scientists, Research Institutes for participation in the plan to draw a road map.
- Implement treatment activities through bio-filtering and development of artificial wetlands for treatment of waste water.
- Examine the possibility of eco-tourism and other income generation alternatives for the selected areas.
- Plantation of medicinal plants and restoration of Bhoj and other appropriate species in upper reaches of Ganga.
Approach for the preparation of DPR under Project Development Phase
FRI will act as the nodal center for planning, capacity building, co-coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the proposed activities. All the concerned states and their representative agencies will act as the implementing partner for their respective identified activities. At its initial phase the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal has been identified as the project implementing states. After identification of the roles and activities of the concerned states through project inception meetings inviting all stake holders, detail plan will be drafted for its execution. State Forest Departments (SFDs), State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and other stakeholders will be invited to discuss and identify the action plan and strategy. Each concerned states will host two meetings. The first meeting will be the project inception meeting in which suggestions will be taken for drafting the strategy followed by the second meeting to finalize the draft of the proposed action to make DPR. Delphi method of questionnaire will be adopted to acquire relevant information involving all concerned stakeholders. Available modern tools of Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System will also be used to generate different layers of information appropriate for planning and implementing the action plan. Thus, the first phase of the project envisaged as the Project Development Phase for a period of 8 months will involve intensive work mainly to identify the activities, prioritizing the activities, strategy for execution of activities in a time bound manner for successfully achieving the set goals, identification of stakeholders and their roles, development of essential initial GIS layers and formulation of the action plan to be incorporated into DPR.
Main focus of activities would be on the following:
- Biodiversity conservation and development
- Development of Riparian Zone with Biological Filter
- Establishing Biological filter zone- Four tiers of plantation filters:
i. Ist Tier Plantation
ii. IInd Tier Plantation
iii. IIIrd Tier Plantation
iv. IVth Tier Plantation
- Increasing tree and forest cover in Ganga basin
Schedule of events