The government of India has sought help from the engineering and science community to find a feasible solution to clean the national river of India. The members of the IET India IoT Panel, an IoT-focused panel of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) India, were invited to consult the Government of India’s National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to discuss the ways to clean Ganga and its tributaries in a comprehensive manner.

Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, Chairman of the IET India IoT Panel, Mr. Shekhar Sanyal, Director and Country Head of the IET, Mr Vivek Mehrotra, Chairman of the IET India IoT Panel’s Ganga Rejuvenation Working Group and other senior members of the IET India IoT panel met Shri Upendra Prasad Singh, Director General, NMCG recently to discuss the four main areas of concern with respect to NMCG. The leaders discussed and tried to identify ways to improve the water flow in Ganga, better treatment of pollutants via sewage and effluent treatment plants, need for controlling unregulated sewage, open defecation etc., and handling chemical runoff from agricultural lands (fertilizers and pesticides) as well as effective means to manage cremetorial wastes in Ganga.

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementation wing of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), but now works under the control of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation. NMCG aims not only at cleaning the river Ganga and its Ghats but also is setting up various biodiversity centers, crematoria and other construction and modernizations of Ghats along the banks of river Ganga. With an aim to support NMCG to put an end to the growing problem, the IET India IoT Panel, the only neutral body, that focuses not only on technology but the application aspect of IoT in various segments, formed a Ganga Rejuvenation Working Group which aims to device a high level plan on how the panel could contribute towards alleviating these pain points. The working group will also create a pavilion at the IoT India Congress 2017, which is an annual event organized by the IET, with a special focus on the National Clean Ganga Mission.

Commenting on the panel’s focus on Clean Ganga Mission, Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, Chairman, IET India IoT Panel said, “Ganga, the sacred river of India provides water to about 40% of India’s population but unfortunately it is amongst the most polluted rivers in the country. There have been various movements and action plans since 1986 to save Ganga, however, we see that the health of the river has been deteriorating. In order to support the government’s efforts to resuscitate the river, the IET India-IoT panel is devising an IoT solution which will help in the river rejuvenation, cleanliness, and conservation of our precious national resource. The solution will monitor the waste disposed to the river and control it. We are very excited about this project which will help in the revival of one the most sacred river on Indian soil.”

Vivek Mehrotra, Chairman of Ganga Rejuvenation team, IET India IoT Panel and Regional Director, GE Digital also commented, “Cleaning Ganga river and maintaining its cleanliness is a huge task which requires multilevel collaboration from the society, universities, industries and government. With great support from the Government and other relevant bodies, the IET has joined hands to bring in the latest from industries to support this mission. Concepts like Internet of Things (IoT) and how it can help achieve this mission by bringing in together not only the ‘things’ but also the ‘people’ could be of great success. Proving the real time information of pollution status to the river, enabling and assisting the industries & societies to find alternate means of disposal of waste can help reduce the pollution to a greater extent.

The IET team met with Mr. Upendra Singh, DG NMCG to understand his vision and discuss how it can be achieved collaboratively. The idea is to create several groups of smaller task forces involving people from universities, colleges, and society, at the local level around the river basin, in this mission at multiple directions including spreading the awareness in addition to IoT-based system deployments.

Considered the most sacred river of this country, Ganga is deeply connected with cultural beliefs and identity of the Indian people. However, it has now become one of the most polluted rivers in the world. The government in the past has launched multiple campaigns with projects like “Clean Ganga” however there is a lack of organized effort.

Recently, the Uttarakhand High Court declared the rivers Ganga and the Yamuna, “legal and living entities, having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person”.