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Writer – Samiksha Shewale

Ganga is the largest river in India and is one of the holiest river which originates in Uttarakhand but it has got polluted on large scale due to various reasons like industrial effluents domestic waste etc directly throwing in the river.

Ganga passes through 11 states thus providing water to huge number of population hence to protect Ganga from further more pollution so Indira Gandhi suggested for cleaning river but the Ganga Action Plan 1 was launched  during Rajiv Gandhi Government on 14 January 1986. It was the first attempt of government to clean Ganga. 

Ganga action plan 1986-


        To improve the quality of water by treatment of sewage , interception and other methods to prevent mixing of the industrial waste .


       1)35% of sewage generated was tackled 

       2)Biochemical oxygen demand (BOP) came down from 12mg/l to 4mg/l

Reasons for failure of this project –

There were many reasons behind failure of this plan due to various reasons like =

1) As we are aware that ganga is the largest river and the most polluted river so for cleaning it more more Sewage treatment plants should be set up but only 35 STP were built so it was not much helpful because it didn’t hold much capacity to clean water .

2)24×7 power feeding was essential for round the clock functioning but this was not in real ,this was neglected and hence many of them even didn’t have basic power facilities .

3)In many places STP were not even effective in treating the effluents.

4) The STP plant has to be shut down completely during monsoon and hence 3 to 4 months in a year  all sewage used to go untreated.

5)It was a completely bureaucratic exercise but there was lack of data on water use and wastewater generation ensured that plans failed miserably .

Plan was very good but its implementation lacked and hence didn’t found any changes in pollution of river so this plan was stopped in year 2006 .


Failure of this plan generated interest and set the scene for evolving a national approach towards replication of this program for other polluted rivers of the country .

Government of India proposed  to extend this plan with suitable modifications to the national level through a National River Action Plan 2.