Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along the city's winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have received the top United Nations award on environment but his parliamentary constituency Varanasi, from where he is seeking re-election, has turned “breathless”. While a few knee-jerk actions have been taken by the state and local city government, the focus of the MP (read Prime Minister Modi) has been on beautification and infrastructure that do not fully address the primary causes of consistently poor air quality at the city and regional level which listed third worst in the world last year.

As Varanasi is the heart of thousands of pilgrims along with thousands of tourist, everyday thousands of people uses fuel emitted boat that spreads black smoke on the bank of Ganges. Moreover, all the wastage from the temples and the funeral wastage directly goes into Ganges. Wherever, the government doesn't have any plan to clean the Ganges water where people perform their everyday holy bath on increasingly polluted water.  
© Anik Rahman 2021
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