Cardiff [UK] : After a successful debut at COP-26, Glasgow, the Ganga Connect exhibition was inaugurated at Cardiff University on Friday by Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales and Gaitri Issar Kumar, Indian High Commissioner to the UK.
Organized jointly by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), C-Ganga, and the High Commission of India, the Ganga Connect is a global exhibition and an outreach platform that will showcase the multiple facets of the river system and connect with a range of interested partners. In a press release, the NMCG said the exhibition offers a clear and deep understanding of the size, magnitude and complexity of the Ganga river ecosystem.
“It put a spotlight on a range of solutions being developed and implemented and shared a status update and execution timeline of the programme. The exhibition also illustrates the deep spiritual and philosophical connect that Indians have with the river”, said the NMCG.
The release added, “The exhibition also enables engagement with interested parties and the diaspora who want to get involved in the rejuvenation, restoration and conservation of the river system”.
In his keynote address, the Mark Drakeford MS said that borders are irrelevant in the climate crises and impacts cannot be mitigated by individual countries acting alone, with international collaboration being the only way forward.
Indian High Commissioner Gaitri Issar Kumar highlighted how Indians revere the Ganges and shared the high priority which the Government of India places upon the Namami Gange mission. She further commented how the Namami Gange mission brings together public policy, technology intervention and community participation to revive and rejuvenate River Ganga.
The exhibition also marked the annual Diwali celebrations, which is a must-go-to event for the strong diaspora community in Wales. The First Minister and the High Commissioner were given a tour and explanation of various aspects of the Ganga rejuvenation programme by Ashok Kumar, Executive Director (Projects) NMCG and Sanmit Ahuja, Expert Member, c-Ganga.
The scientific roundtable was also hosted by The Water Research Institute, which is part of the Gw4 Water Alliance, which is the largest water-focused initiative in the UK comprising Universities of Cardiff, Bath, Bristol and Exeter.
Detailed presentations on a broad range of topics were made which included management of Indian river basins, biodiversity, the impact of climate change on monsoon rainfall and its subsequent implication for river basin management.
Ashok Kumar Singh shared the governmental perspective and NMCG’s approach for the rejuvenation of the River Ganga. Sanmit Ahuja explained the project potentials for water market and their pricing, biodiversity bonds and their economic linkages.
Key areas of potential collaboration that were discussed were – Transforming Indian cities to Liveable cities, Water budgets and pollution in Ganga river basin, River ecosystem studies in Wales and the Himalayan mountains, Climate change and Indian monsoon, Biodiversity profiles of river systems, threats to it and conservation measures, Hydrology of environmental ecosystems and Using large systems and programmes to accelerate applied innovation.
In another roundtable dedicated to business and industry, several companies with innovative technologies and solutions participated and learnt about the Environment Technology Verification (ETV) process that is run by Ganga under the aegis of NMCG to bring new innovations to market.
The discussion was led by Ashok Kumar Singh and was moderated by Sanmit Ahuja. Ashok Kumar Singh shared how innovation and technology are encouraged by NMCG. The companies presented a range of innovative solutions such as Biorefining of waste materials, Waste to hydrogen, Advanced techniques to eliminate sludge production in wastewater treatment, Novel materials that act as highly efficient filter media and Yield enhancer in the agriculture sector
To mark the special occasion of the inauguration of the Ganga Connect exhibition, the Cardiff Castle hoisted the Indian flag alongside the Welsh flag and was covered in the Tri-Colour colours in the evening.