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Polluted and revered

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Feb 25, 2013 | From the print edition

>> Dirty Sacred Rivers, Confronting South Asia's Water Crisis, by Cherly Colopy, Oxford Unversity Press, Rs 1295

Dirty Sacred RiversThis book explores South Asia's increasingly urgent water crisis, taking readers on a journey through North India, Nepal and Bangladesh, from the Himalaya to the Bay of Bengal. It shows how rivers, traditionally revered by the people of the Indian subcontinent, have in recent decades deteriorated dramatically due to economic progress and gross mismanagement. Dams and ill-advised embankments strangle the Ganges and its sacred tributaries.

Rivers have become sewage channels for a burgeoning population. Environmental journalist Cheryl Colopy treks to high mountain glaciers with hydrologists; bumps around the rough embankments of India's poorest state in a jeep with social workers; and takes a boat excursion through the Sundarbans, the mangrove forests at the end of the Ganges watershed.

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