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The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) address several major factors impacting health globally (n.d.). Out of these goals, I chose goal seven. This goal would relate to ensuring the environmental sustainability of the Ganges River in India.
Rapidly industrializing countries face serious concerns on environmental health and sustainability. The Ganges River and the Ganges Basin is a vital source for agricultural, nutritional, cultural, and tourism needs yet it also is heavily impacted by pollution (Kanuri et al., 2020). Garbage, industrial waste, raw sewage empty into the river at various points. Pollution in the river can lead to serious health issues such as bacterial infection, heavy metal poisoning, reduced water quality, enteric diseases, and impact food sources (Kumar et al., 2021; Santy & Bala, 2020).
As an important site for religious and communal use, people are exposed to pollution through bathing, drinking, swimming, and fishing from the Ganges (Sachdeva, 2017). Those with fewer resources are more likely to rely on the Ganges for food and water than those who can afford filtered water. In response to the lack of governmental intervention, many organizations and groups have attempted to address pollution (Schiff, 2014). However, significant sources of pollution come from industry and city waste and require government intervention to address. Part of ensuring people’s health and wellbeing is to address the environmental hazards impacting the river. Improving the Ganges would mean addressing population factors from untreated waste from residential and industrial sources and improving a significant resource for the most vulnerable residents along the river.
Pollution of the Ganges impacts multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the World Health Organization (n.d.). These include ensuring health and wellbeing, sustainable water and soil management, marine conservation, and protecting ecosystems. Effectively addressing the environmental factors that impact the Ganges would improve the health and safety of all who rely on the river. While non-government organizations continue to advocate and work to clean the river, the scale of pollution and lack of waste management infrastructure will require significant action from the government.
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