The Union government has launched the first ever across-the-river survey in Ganga to get details about the population of aquatic life thriving in it, including that of the endangered Gangetic dolphin.
According to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the survey will help create a baseline scientific data for the Centre to take suitable measures to improve the quality of the river water.
• The first part of the census was launched on 1 March 2017 from Narora to Bijnor stretch in Uttar Pradesh, which covers a distance of about 165 km.
• The second part, which would cover a distance of about 250 km from Allahabad to Varanasi, is expected to be launched later this week.
• Along with this, another study to determine fish species’ composition in the 2,525 km long river has been launched from Harshil village in Uttarakhand. The survey is being conducted through Wildlife Institute of India (WII) under the Namami Gange programme.
• Besides dolphins, the study would also help determine the number of ghariyals and turtles in the river.
• The counting is expected to continue till October 2017.
• Apart from the population count, the study would also help in understanding the distribution pattern of aquatic life in the river, the extent of threat they are facing and their habitat conditions.
• This is the first time that such a comprehensive and scientific study is being conducted in the river. All the studies conducted prior to this were done in bits and pieces.
• After the completion of the study in the river’s mainstream, a similar census will be carried out in its tributaries as well.
According to an NMCG consultant (Biodiversity Centre), Sandeep Behera, the Gangetic dolphins, which are considered as one among the four freshwater dolphin species in the world, are disappearing from the Ganga’s Narora to Kanpur stretch due to pollution.
He further stated that the study would hence, help determine the stretches where dolphin habitates, the conditions in that particular area and also the level of threat the species are facing in a particular belt.
The NMCG chose the ongoing period for the study in order to avoid the possibility of repeat count of animals, as due to the current low water level the population of animals would be concentrated in certain pockets.
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