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Dipping in the Ganges


Every day a few million dip their bodies in the Ganges, considered one of the most polluted waterways in the world. They have been doing it for thousands of years. Yet they survive.

New Zealand rivers are as close to clean and green and pristine as you can get. Yet they are considered un-swimmable by environmentalists. A Hindu would look at these rivers and simply laugh. So what is going on?

As usual, science is being stretched for political reasons. There is a difference between drinkable and swimmable. In the old days, farmers used drink water from water tanks fed off the roof. They would have bird poo, opossum excrement, dead rats, rotting vegetation and general mud mixed up.

The water would be heated and then poured into a small tin bath. This water would then be used for as many as 12 children and adults, one by one taking his turn. Even though each was bathing in the last person's dead skin, it was still a cleansing experience.

A distinction was made between boiling water from the stream for drinking, and just plain swimming for recreation. It was known for instance, that 100 yards downstream from a rotting carcass, the water was safe again to drink, because when water goes over stones it gets purified. This was in bush survival instructions carried by soldiers to Malaya.

This is not to say that farmers can pollute away to their hearts content. Most farmers are happiest when their rivers and waterways are relatively clean. Animals that poo close to the water are not harming the water quality. It the same with urination.

I can remember in my lifetime swimming at St Heliers alongside toilet waste, and it being a bit of a laugh. But we kept on swimming, taking the water into our mouths, but not drinking it. It was obviously perfectly acceptable for the Auckland City Council to let sewage out right in the middle of swimming young families. Even boiling the water is a simple process. Left to stand afterwards the gunge at the bottom separates out.

Water dissolves dirt, it is well known. The dirt, once dissolved, stays dissolved. It does not jump on to the next body that swims in it. Science will have you believe that the moment you get into the water, the dirt flies out and covers your body. That is simply not the case. In these days of PC it is yet another fallacy.

It is about time that environmentalists come to grips with what is real and what is fantasy. Most of them do not live in the country, and do not know the ways of country living. They would rather drink heavily filtered water, along polluted and crumbling pipes, and then the chlorine and other chemicals added to make it taste acceptable. This is considered city water, and preferable to the water off the land.

In an ideal world there are no animals, there is nothing entering the water from the sides of the river bank, and there is frankly no water. For water in nature is a living thing. It is forever cleansing and renewing, it is the conduit of change.

In India, it is not the cows that you have to watch out for, splashing in the water along with the people. If a cow accompanies you it is the least of your worries.  

It is the elephants.

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