Pledge from Assisi to Assi (Varanasi)
Water Experts Meet with Pujya Swamiji and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji to Discuss Turning our Sewage Points into Selfie Points
ASSISI, ITALY: HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, had fruitful meetings in Assisi, Italy with several world renowned water experts who expressed their willingness to bring their solutions and technologies to assist and support the ailing National River Ganga, especially converting the polluted drains along the Ganga River Basin into clean water.
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji shared with them about the recent utilisation of Dutch technology from the Netherlands together with Geotube Technology from India came together to convert a sewage drain going into the River Ganga in Rishikesh into a selfie point. The project was carried out jointly by Ganga Action Parivar- Parmarth Niketan, Flexituff International Limited & Ingeo Contractor Private Ltd, under the able leadership of Indian Water Expert Dr Rajneesh Mehraji, with the divine vision and blessing of Pujya Swamiji. The selfie point was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Shri Trivendra Singh Rawatji, Director General of the National Mission for Clean Ganga Shri Rajiv Ranjanji, Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand Shri Utpal Singhji and many others. To learn more about the event please visit:
Pujya Swamiji shared His vision to create another pilot plan along the Assi River emptying out into the Ganga near the famous Assi Ghat as a project dedicated to our Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modiji and to his great commitment and dedication to restoring and rejuvenating the sacred National River.
The experts pledged that indeed they would bring this message for clean water and clean rivers from Assisi, Italy to Assi, India.
Pujya Swamiji said, “Time has come to put a green shutter on every gutter that runs into the River Ganga. We must ensure that all drains are cleaned in situ before they run into the river, ideally and eventually treating and reusing wastewater to address our daily water usage instead of utilising Ganga water. With the increasing water shortage* and the increased contamination of our fresh water stores its time that we must come together to find innovative solutions to the pollution.”
He added, “When Hon’ble Prime Minister of India met with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of the Netherlands recently they both exchanged a very friendly and warm chemistry which has made a new history between the relations of both countries. This chemistry and history will catalyse our journey to solve and restore the mystery of our ancient rivers and tributaries like the Assi River, that have run dry and become nothing but an open drain. By converting every sewage point into a selfie point we can create an innovative way in which people can interact with and be inspired to be a solution to the pollution that ails their communities.”
Sadhvi Bhagawatiji said, “Its wonderful that just after our Peace Pledge Project we are gathering together in Assisi today discussing and planning for a clean River Ganga. This is the definition of peace that we need amongst our communities and countries – one that also includes clean water for all beings. Water also unifies us. Its essential for a healthy and happy life. However, today its also the essence of bringing greater harmony between our faiths and our countries. This to me is such a great example of GIWA’s 3H: Health, Hygiene and Harmony programme and I look forward to seeing this Sewage to Selfie point come to fruition for Assi River in the sacred city of Varanasi.”
Water Experts from Netherlands Dr. Eric Laarakker, Partner, For Good-Clean Change Frans Versteeg, and Water and Light Director Mr R Zantinge were joined by Wendy Edeka and Corry De Lange, Board Member, Water Company PWN also of the Netherlands.
The meeting was during the Peace Pledge Pilgrimage to Assisi Italy and was joined by Ms Brigitte van Baren, Universal Sufi Council, Director Inner Sense, who was behind the organisation and the coming together of the pilgrimage. The pilgrimage is an interfaith platform which promotes the values of loving kindness, compassion and dialogue to bring about peace within our communities and countries.
*By the year 2040, it is predicted that the world will have only half the water it needs, leading to heightened threats of famine, food shortages, mass migration and violence as temperatures and populations escalate. According to the United Nations, with the existing climate change scenario, by just 2030, water scarcity in some arid and semi-arid places will displace between 24 million and 700 million people.
Already, the city of Cape Town, South Africa, is counting down to its “day zero,” in which there will not be enough water to supply the metropolis. In India, the situation is also grave, with 54% of the nation already experiencing high to extremely high water stress.
The predictions are growing increasingly dire in our nation, which is already facing 53% water scarcity. It is predicted that if no actions are taken, India will have only half of the water it needs by 2030, putting our farms, cities and futures at risk.
River Ganga, the lifeline for around 50 crore people as well as countless species of animals, many of which are in danger of soon becoming extinct. The roundtable also looked at solutions for water issues that could be implemented by people from all walks of life, from scientists and technologists to students, faith leaders and everyday people.