Saving the River Ganga in an Age of Pollution: Can India’s River Goddess be restored to health?

Date:     Sunday, September - 18, 2011
Time:    11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location:   Braun Hall, Chemistry Bldg Stanford campus

Free Admission and Open to the Public.
Q & A will follow the two presentations.
For questions please email or

Considered the holiest–and yet most polluted, the threatened Ganga River brings a crisis. On the one hand, it is seen as a goddess that can carry away impurities, both spiritual and physical. On the other, people mindlessly continue to defile the river with human, industrial and toxic wastes. Can we assume the river is purifying if it is polluted? The condition of the river is so dire and the effects of the river’s pollution on human and environmental health considered so dangerous, that there is an urgency to address hazards posed by dangerously unsafe water quality.

The struggle to clean the river has a long history. Ironically, the powerful environmental movement was fuelled by spiritual motivation in concern for the river, revered as a Mother. The Varanasi based Sankat Mochan Foundation led by Dr. Veer Bhadra Mishra, a head priest cum hydraulic engineer, and the Friends of the Ganges, USA have been battling for over 30 years to implement scientifically researched clean water regulations, aimed at restoring the river to health.

Panel discussants Dr. Bailey Green, President, GO2 Water, an East Bay water solutions company invited to implement an innovative AIWPS technology, and Catherine Porter, Executive President, Friends of the Ganges, USA, both actively involved in the Varanasi Ganges clean up efforts, will discuss how science, technology, religion, and environmentalism intersect in an ongoing challenge to bring hope to India’s millions who look to the river as a lifeline and a source of spiritual nourishment.