By Sandeep Behera
The author is Associate Director, River Basin and Biodiversity -WWF-India. SBehera@wwfindia.net
Water in the right quantity and quality is critical to the survival of aquatic biodiversity. Multiple threats take their toll, but uncontrolled and commercial exploitation by man has been the single-most damaging factor to species such as freshwater turtles of the Ganga. As an indicator species, freshwater turtle can provide invaluable information on the health of river Ganga’s ecosystem. Thus conservation efforts urgently need to be stepped up.
The Ganga and its tributaries drain about one square million kilometres of fertile basin in India that supports one of the world’s highest human population densities of 550 persons per square kilometre. In fact as documented in the study by A Mishra, 2010, titled Assessment of water quality using principal component analysis: A case study of the river Ganga, published in the Journal of Water Chemistry and Technology, almost half of our population lives on one-third of the landscape within...