Ganga River is believed to be one of the India’s holiest rivers with cultural and spiritual significance attributed to it by the people. Despite its importance and religious beliefs associated with it, the river is facing extreme pollution which is posing a great threat to its biodiversity. Recognising the river Ganga as the country’s heritage, and to give an impetus to its conservation, the Government of India has declared it as ‘National River’. When it comes to creating awareness about keeping our rivers clean, it is important to realise that it requires a change in people’s attitude and hence their participation.
National Mission for Clean Ganga has taken up the Ganga Action Plan Project (Varanasi) under the National Ganga Council in Varanasi, with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), with Varanasi Nagar Nigam (VNN) as the implementing agency. While infrastructural improvement is one aspect of this initiative, the other important aspect is Public Awareness and Public Participation (PAPP), for which CEE was invited in 2016 to take up education and awareness programmes at the ghats and in schools. CEE Varanasi was established as a project office to implement the project activities. In 2017, CEE was also given the responsibility for residential zones which are close to the ghats.
CEE North is implementing the Swachh Ganga-Swachh Kashi initiative with support from Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VNN), as part of which CEE is working with 100 schools, 32 wards and 86 ghats to raise awareness and sensitise them towards cleanliness and sanitation. Under the ghat and school initiative, CEE undertook took awareness generation and sensitisation activities during 2017-18, as given below.
Established as a Centre of Excellence of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India.