Mumbai: A team of ecologists, adventurers
and travel enthusiasts have come together for a 35-day
expedition tour to the Ganges, beginning from Rishikesh to
study the effect of global climatic changes on the holy river,
and also provide sustainable solutions.
Supported by boat manufacturer AB Inflatables,
environmental organization Green Cross International and
Kuoni, a leisure travel and destination management company,
the `Ganges Expedition` launched yesterday, will travel 2,500
kilometres from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal.
The expedition is a unique opportunity where
environmental concerns and sustainable solutions are a common
denominator for all partners, said Adam Koniuszewski, Chief
Operating Officer of Green Cross International.
"We look forward to using the images and video footage
from the origins of the Ganges in Gangotri to its end in the
Bay of Bengal in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit
and beyond," he said.
"This expedition will help raise scientific knowledge and
public awareness about impacts that climate change will have,"
said Prof Mohan Munasinghe, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace
Prize for work on global warming and sustainable development
and is also an envoy of Green Cross International.
Coping with water stress will be a central challenge
in the years to come. Seven of the world`s largest rivers
originate in the Himalayas, including the Yangtze and the
Ganges, supplying water to 40 percent of the world`s
population, Munasinghe said.
With the Himalayan glaciers in retreat, stringent
precautions must be taken to avoid undesirable climate change
impacts that are likely to take place, he said.
Our team has already travelled on some of the world`s
other great rivers like the Amazon, Mekong and Zambezi, said
Expedition Leader Andy Leemann.
"But the Ganges is special for us in many ways. We are
going to camp on the banks of the stream or sleep in temples.
Everybody is looking forward to a close encounter with India`s
holy river," he said.
Three inflatable boats carrying 15 people including
the expedition crew, experts and journalists will stop at
various points to document the state of the river and visit
pilot projects of the World Wide Fund for Nature, which have
been developed to protect the endangered Ganges River Dolphin
and to test new technology to treat water and improve water
Also, the journey aims to showcase the unique natural
pulchritude of the river and the fascinating diversity of
cultural traditions on its banks. It also seeks to promote
sustainable tourism, for both conservation and economic