Environmentalists are doubtful over the findings of recently conducted Ganga Dolphin Census citing increasing pollution load in Ganga.

Banaras Hindu University's environmental scientist and Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) expert member Prof BD Tripathi said, "Gangetic dolphin survives in clean water. So it is surprising that their population is increasing in Ganga, which is highly polluted in some stretches." Polluting agents like sewage, toxic matter harm aquatic life, he said and added that rising level of sewage, industrial effluents and pesticides harm the critically endangered Gangetic dolphins. "If the number of Gangetic dolphin is increasing, it means that they have developed resistance to pollutants and it should be studied," he added.

Former dean, faculty of agriculture, Prof Janardan Singh said that the rising population and sewer affluent had deteriorated quality of Ganga's water. Expressing pleasure over the rising number of dolphins in Ganga, Prof Singh, who is also associated with Unesco-oriented project "Man and Biosphere" funded by Union environment ministry to monitor pesticide residues in Ganges water from Allahabad to Varanasi, said, "Conservation of this animal should be top priority. Census should be conducted twice a year. The input information on Gangetic dolphin is very poor and needs research for better management of dolphins."

Attributing the rising number of dolphins to awareness programmes on saving the endangered animals, he said that Vikram Shila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary had been set up in 60-km stretch between Sultanganj and Kahalgaon by the Union environment ministry. The research centre working out of Bhagalpur University is concentrating on educating fishermen and other communities not to harvest Dolphin from river.

The Census was conducted under 'My Ganga My Dolphin' project jointly by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and forest department under the National Mission for Clean Ganga with the help of NGOs between October 5 and 8. The survey had counted 1,263 dolphins in UP against 671 in 2012 Census. The survey had also counted 116 dolphins in a 215-km stretch of the river from Laakshagrih in Allahabad to Kaithi in Varanasi, a confluence of Ganga and Gomti. 


Source: October 26, 2015, The Times of India