The government has commissioned a project under
the National Gang Mission (Namami Gange) to assess the microbial diversity
along the entire length of the Ganga. This is to test is the river contain
microbes that may promote antibiotic resistance.
The project will be undertaken by scientists at
the Motilal Nehru Institute of Technology, the National Environmental
Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), and Sardar Patel Institute of Science
& Technology. Further, start-ups would also participate in the project.
The main aim of the project is to indicate the
type of “contamination” (sewage and industrial) in the river and threat to human
health (antibiotic resistance surge) they possess. It would seek to identify
sources of Eschericia coli- a type of bacteria that lives in the gut of animals
According to 2014 study, cultural activities
such as mass bathing in Ganga during religious mass gathering occasions, levels
of resistance genes that lead to “superbugs” were about 60 times greater than
other times. This give arise to concerns over potential acquisition and spread
of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
A 2017 report commissioned by the Union
Department of Biotechnology and the U.K. Research Council underlined that India
had some of the highest antibiotic resistance rates among bacteria that
commonly cause infections.
Antibiotic resistance is a subtype of
antimicrobial resistance. Anti-microbial resistance is the ability of a
microorganism (like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an
antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and antimalarial)
from working against it.