Rotterdam: As India gears up for the gigantic task of cleaning up the Ganges river, the Netherlands, which has vast experience in river rejuvenation, has suggested that finding alternate ways for waste disposal is key to stop pollution in the holy river.
In a recent interaction with visiting journalists to the Netherlands, Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Henriette Schultz van Haegen-Maas Geesteranus said that educating people about the problem was also important.
"Ganges is of course very interesting because everybody throws everything into the Ganges... It is not only about cleaning up water, but you have to start where does the problem start. Why do people throw out things into the water.
"That's where you start. Are you able give them an alternative to leave their rubbish instead of in the water," she said.
The Netherlands is evincing keen interest in cleaning up the river in the light of the NDA Government prioritising cleansing of the Ganges and planning it to make a model to rejuvenate other populated rivers in rest of India.
"We have a lot of experience with cleaning up water... We are asked in a lot of countries to come and help and assist," Ms Geesteranus stated.
Suggesting that educating people on discouraging them from dumping trash into the river was key, she said that the process of cleaning up the river can be carried out simultaneously.
The NDA Government has accorded top priority to cleaning Ganga and the Centre had allocated Rs. 2,037 crore for an integrated programme for the conservation of river Ganga named 'Namami Gange' in the Union Budget.
The Ministry of Water Resources is coordinating with other ministries such as environment, transport and tourism for rejuvenating the holy river.
A committee comprising secretaries of various ministries has also been constituted for the purpose.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also called for the support of NRIs in campaigns like Clean India and Clean Ganga, saying that cleaning of the Ganges was part of his economic agenda as economic conditions of nearly 40 per cent of Indian population could be linked to the river.