Delhi, April 25, 2023: The Centre for Global Affairs & Public Policy (CGAPP) is spearheading a comprehensive project aimed at addressing the issues of plastic waste in the Ganga Basin. The project, “Tackling Plastic Pollution in the Ganga Basin”, comprises a research component, a solution component, and an outreach component. The research will be conducted by an all-women team in over 12 locations spread across India and Bangladesh. The solution component includes anti-plastic expos in Rishikesh and Varanasi and outreach will involve local communities and civil society organisations. The project will also feature a river expedition from Prayagraj to Varanasi by women researchers and a culminating summit in Dhaka at the end of the year. The aim is to initiate measures for effectively countering the danger posed by effluents and microplastics currently choking the Ganga basin, and threatening the aquatic ecosystem and the environment at large.
Research for this ambitious action plan will be held over 12 locations in India, including vital points in the Ganga Basin like Rishikesh, Prayagraj, Varanasi, and other locations such as the Sunderbans. Two locations have been earmarked in Bangladesh, including Chandpur and the Sundarbans region in Bangladesh. A 220-km river expedition, from Prayagraj to Varanasi, using solar-powered boats will be held in collaboration with youth organisations, NGOs, and urban local bodies to collect detailed data on plastic pollution.
The first leg of the research will kick-start in Rishikesh on April 24, 2023, and culminate in a two-day expo, beginning April 29, 2023. The “Rishikesh Ganga Anti Plastic Expo” will bring together start-ups, urban local bodies, domain experts, students, local personalities, and community representatives as audience and panelists. It will feature a roundtable discussion to explore solutions that can be deployed to address the problem of plastic pollution in the Ganga.
A highlight of the project will be its all-women team, comprising 15 members, including 12 permanent team members and 3-4 local representatives from academic institutions. The group comprises women Ph.D. scholars and graduate students specializing in various disciplines, ranging from urban planning, science, engineering, governance, and architecture, among others. The project research will be led by Dr. Mansee Bal Bhargava, National President of the Water Resources Council. The research component seeks to build upon the methodology used in the National Geographic Sea-to-Source Expedition held in 2019, while the solution and outreach component will add to this aspect to look at scalable solutions, including plastic alternatives and waste management, to address the issue of plastic pollution in the Ganga.