OzGREEN programs connect youth with communities to become leaders of innovative sustainable social change

Day 10- Varanasi

In the previous 10 days I have sat in on countless meetings- most of which I was silent, just trying to understand what was going on, who was who- I have witnessed the horrifying reality of Varanasi's sewage flow into the river, I have been emotionally torn down, met wonderful friends, experienced the deep spiritual culture of India, and been inspired again and again by the people around me.

Unlike me, Sue has been apart of this family from the very beginning. She has seen 25 years of water testing, campaigning, achievements, and disheartening non-achievements. She has held this cause closely in her heart for 25 years. 

After 25 years it is only now that we have discovered an arising fundamental problem: 

People do not understand that when they flush their toilet, it goes directly through large pipes, and often small broken pipes, and into the river. 

What we need- I am saying "we" as humanity as a whole, because this is not an Indian problem, it is a global crisis- we need to differentiate between cosmetic cleaning and removing and treating the sewage in Ganga. 

Thousands of litres of sewage flooding into Ganga every day; 40 million people relying on the water for life; the only sewage treatment plants implemented in the last 25 years do not work; people believing that the river is clean, because the ghats are clean and there is a new blue boat picking up rubbish in the water. 

This is too big. Where is the hope? 

As corny and cliche as you may think this sounds: the hope, I believe, is in all of us. There can be no denying that. 

This is not an unsolvable problem, the technology required is out there. The difficult part is spreading awareness and thorough understanding of the issue, then using that global awareness to influence institutions with power. 

Community action = government action.