In a revelation that many Hindu devotees will see as a validation of their beliefs about the divine nature of the Ganga, a study commissioned by the Union Water Resources Ministry has found an immense presence of organisms with antibacterial properties in the sacred river, reports The Hindu.
The study entitled ‘Assessment of Water Quality and Sediment to Understand Special Properties of River Ganga’ which began in 2016 was conducted by the Nagpur based National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute(NEERI) to ascertain unique properties of the Ganga that distinguish it from other water bodies in the country.
Starting from the Bhagirathi, an initial subsystem of the mighty river, over 20 samples are tested at various stations to discern the radiological, microbiological and biological uniqueness of the lifeline of the Gangetic plains.
It is the assessment of five pathogenic species of bacteria and the presence of bacteriophages (a kind of virus that kill bacteria) from the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Narmada that testified to the conclusion. “The Ganga has three times more bacteriophages in proportion to the bacterial isolates found in the river” wrote the authors in their report synopsis.
Even other major rivers contain similar organisms, but the Ganga - particularly in its upper reaches of the might Himalayan stretches - has more of them, suggests the report.
While the Ganga had 1100 such kinds of bacteriophages, Yamuna and Narmada contained less than 200 kinds of them and hence the uniqueness of the Ganga. However, the presence of the bacteriophages varied along the length of the river. The initial phase of the river -- from Gomukh to Tehri -- had 33% more bacteriophages than what was found in the Mana-Haridwar and the Bijnor-Varanasi stretch. The same further declines along the Patna-Gangasagar stretch.
IIT-Roorkee is developing an anti bacterial agent using the same organic properties of the river.