Arjuna Award and Padma Shree recipient Bachendri Pal is leading a month-long river rafting expedition with a 40 member team to save the holy river, Ganga.
Originating from the western Himalayas, the 2,525 km long river Ganga is the fifth most polluted river in the whole world. What makes the condition even worse is human activity, like releasing untreated industrial waste into the river.
Many people from across India have come up with several initiatives to save the dying river. One among these is Bachendri Pal, Chief of Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF).
Famous for being the first Indian woman to climb Mt. Everest in 1984, Bachendri is also a recipient of Padma Shree and Arjuna Award.
Now, she has taken up a month-long rafting expedition ‘Mission Ganga’ with a team of 40 members. Through this, she aims to spread awareness about the waste management and cleaning of the river Ganga.
Organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) along with Tata Steel, the mission is stretched across seven major cities. It started on October 3 from Haridwar, Uttarakhand and will end on October 30 at Patna.
The mission will pass through eight towns including Bijnore, Kanpur, Allahabad, and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, which is situated on the river banks.
Bachendri said, “We will raft for 1,500 km and will have halts of three days each in bigger cities. We will clean and spread awareness amongst all especially, the youth and school students”
A member of the mission Sneha said,
“We need to take up responsibility, and Bachendri Pal has provided us with every opportunity to create a social impact, spread awareness, thereby taking care of the country."
The team wants to make people residing on the banks of the holy river aware of the importance of the river. Furthermore, many visits have been planned to schools and institutions.
During the expedition, garbage from Ganga will be collected and disposed of safely with the help of local municipal corporations.
The 40 member team led by Bachindera includes eight Everest- climbers, five IIT graduates of scientific study, a radio jockey and several management graduates.
Director General of NMCG Rajiv Ranjan applauded the team’s efforts and said,
“Thousands of people are dependent on river Ganga for the array of their life-supporting activities- ranging from daily household chores to irrigation to business. But an imprudent usage of its water in last few decades had rendered Ganga polluted and even toxic at places.”