Restoring a Sacred River

The Ganges basin is home to 520 million people along with more than 25,000 species of plants and animals. The region is responsible for 40 percent of India’s gross domestic product and its forests are also an important store of carbon, which if released would contribute to the climate crisis.

Pollution, land degradation, and lack of public awareness have put unprecedented pressure on the Ganges’ ecosystems. To preserve and restore natural spaces, the Indian government has launched an ambitious effort known as Namami Gange. It aims to restore people’s connection to a river considered sacred while reducing pollution and reversing deforestation. Already, 1,500 km of the 2,525 km river have been rejuvenated and 30,000 ha of forests have been restored. The work is expected to help sequester 15 million tons of carbon by 2030.


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