The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) on May 1 organised an IDEAthon event to explore how the current Coronavirus crisis can shape the river management strategies for the future. The event that was based on the 'The Future River Management' witnessed participation of over 500 expert panelists from various countries and international organizations. The NMCG had organised the event under the Ministry of Jal Shakti and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA).
According to the Ministry, dealing with the COVID-19 crisis has been a challenge for most countries across the globe which has witnessed a lockdown in most of the places.
In a statement, it said, "While the general narrative around this crisis has been that of anxiety and concern, the crisis has also thrown up some positive developments. One of these is the visible improvement in the natural environment. Rivers have become cleaner. The air has become fresher. There has been a significant drop in GHG emissions. Animals and birds are returning to and enjoying their habitats."
Exploring the future strategies through IDEAthon, the ministry in its statement said that the river cities need a special focus to capitalize on not only the socio-cultural significance of the river but also the ecological importance and economic potential which can help the city.
On April 28 the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)-- a body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate and Change released a report that focused on the impact of the lockdown on the water quality of River Ganga. The report highlighted that due to a decrease in industrial activities and a decrease in domestic wastewater, the quality of water in the river has improved.
Earlier, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had said that the Ganga water up to Rishikesh was made potable even before the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 had first announced a national lockdown in order to contain the spread of the virus. After extending the lockdown on April 14, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday yet again issued a notification extending the nationwide lockdown by two weeks from May 4.