All-women Ganga walk to raise awareness

Even as the government readies its ambitious plan to clean the Ganga, one of the country’s most important and polluted rivers, eight women mountaineers from across the globe, including two Indian climbers, will embark on a 60-day-journey of 1,500 miles in October from Gomukh in the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal carrying the message of importance of abundant and safe drinking water.

Initiated by Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen of the Bancroft-Arnesen Foundation, the expedition is the first step in the ‘Seven Continent Access Water Project’. The international team of six climbers — they are from Israel, Chile, New Zealand, China, and South Africa — will subsequently travel along a prominent river in each continent.

Ms. Bancroft is the first woman to travel to the North Pole on foot and by dogsleds, and is credited along with Ms. Arnesen as the first women to ski across Antarctica.

“The [expedition] team hopes to show how the water and environmental issues along the Ganges River are similar to other places around the world and innovative solutions are vital to the future of this planet,” Ms. Bancroft said in an e-mail to The Hindu.

Explaining the reason behind choosing the Ganga to begin the project with, she said the river represented a great example of both water crisis and a deep-rooted dependence on water for human existence. “With 400 million residents relying on the Ganges for water, food, bathing, and worship, the river represents a unique and vital aspect to millions of peoples’ everyday lives. The pollution not only threatens humans, but also the fish species dependent on it.”

In 2007, the Ganga was one of the five most-polluted waterways in the world.

Joining the international team will be Krushna Patil from Mumbai, the youngest Indian woman to climb Mt. Everest. “This is different than climbing a mountain. This expedition also involves meeting locals and interacting with them. I hope that we will succeed in convey our message to the world,” she told The Hindu.

This all-women team also hopes to interact with thousands of young people, talking about the importance of clean drinking water. Following the Ganga expedition, the team will travel to Africa. The expedition will culminate in Antarctica.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 7:49:06 AM |

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