A kayaking expedition to raise awareness about Ganges pollution

Dream Wanderlust | Oct 4 , 2017

Sudipto Pal, an adventurer from Bengal undertakes a approx. 2500 km kayaking expedition across the entire stretch of river Ganga (Ganges) starting from Haridwar and will terminate at Ganga Sagar (The actual distance between Haridwar and Ganga Sagar is approx. 2300 km. Since he is following the Google map, the distance to be covered is around 2500 km). Three more guys will accompany him in this journey. They named the project as 'Save Ganges Awareness Kayaking Expedition'.

The main objective is to save Ganga from the destructive man made activities which have detrimental effects on Ganga viz. pollution.

The expedition is self funded and very minimal. They will spend the nights in ashrams or temple verandahs and will have food which is offered by the villagers and hermits.

Here is all we had to know about the expedition.

What is the main objective behind undertaking this kayaking journey?

The main objective is to save Ganga from man made activities which have destructive effects on Ganga viz. pollution. Ganga is our lifeline. So we should take steps to conserve Ganga. All industrial wastes are disposed in Ganga.

Please elaborate on the details of the expedition.

I have started kayaking from Haridwar to Ganga Sagar. I did not start from above Haridwar as then the pattern of kayaking would have changed. I have followed long distance kayaking. White water kayaking would not have been applicable over here. This journey will end at Ganga Sagar. It will roughly take me around 35-40 days to complete the entire kayaking. The distance to be traversed is 2500 km. The guy (Saikat Mondal) with me would end his kayaking route at Allahabad. We will cover around 70-80 km per day.

Please list everyday activities to be completed.

Due to paucity of funds I have collected two dry bags and could not manage to collect three dry bags. Dry food and clothing will be put inside these bags. I collect around 6-7 litres of water everyday. I take rest from 12 to 2 in the afternoon everyday due to the intensity of heat during this time. Due to the intense heat we have already developed sun burns on my neck hands and legs. I have collected enough dry food from Haridwar which I carry along with kayak as luggage. I have two sets of clothing and a bed sheet. We spend each night in a lodge.

Do you have any previous experiences in this field?

I have carried out expeditions at Rangeet, Tista, Kaveri and white water kayaking before. I was a rafting guide in Rishikesh and have Also done sailing and wind surfing.

Has anyone done this sort of kayaking on river Ganga before?

According to my knowledge this is going to be the first civilian kayaking experience across Ganga on a single boat. ITBP and Sea Explorer Institute have done it before. Saikat Mondal will be my companion till Allahabad. From Allahabad Prakash Debnath will start his journey and accompany me till Patna. From Patna Sayan Das will accompany me.

What are the major challenges you have faced?

The main challenge is The huge width of Ganga. It is difficult to gauge which way to go in. Suddenly we end up meeting a dead end, which cannot be estimated from far. Then the kayak gets stuck in the middle and we have to maneuver the kayak in the sand. This is extremely difficult. We cannot see the other side of the river from the bank. High intensity of heat resulted in sun burns. Moreover we also experienced strong headwinds. These strong headwinds resulted in huge waves posing a big challenge. For the purpose of navigation we need to proceed along the stream.

What has been your experience so far?

Throughout the course of this journey I have had the privilege of seeing different species of birds such as Pied kingfisher, Stock, etc and other species of wildlife like Gangetic Dolphin, Crocodile, Gharial etc.

What has been your mode of campaign?

My mode of campaign has been mainly through Facebook. I have appealed to people only through social media.

What is the source of funding for your journey?

It is an entirely self funded minimalistic campaign with only the bare necessities. I have borrowed the boat used for kayaking from Mr. Neil Law. Endevour has assisted me in this kayaking expedition also.

This news was revised on 05-10-2017

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