Dipping in the Ganges
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 04, 2017
NZ rivers are considered too polluted to swim in. Every day a few
million people 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 and get clean.
The Ganges is not considered unswimmable like NZ rivers, because of possible spoiling in quality from the presence of a farm animal. Granted it is unavoidable that the Ganges be cleaner, but NZ still has some of the cleanest waterways in the world. Let's get things in perspective.
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. Yes, it could be cleaner, was the attitude, but fine for washing.
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 virtually bathing in the last person's dead skin, dissolved body sweat and accumulated grit, it was still a cleansing
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. 100 yards from a lump of any excrement would qualify as well. 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. To keep waterways healthy for irrigation is also in the farmer's interest. Animals that poo
close to the water are not harming the water quality. It is the same with
urination. Animals are not solely to blame. Who honestly has not pee-ed in a swimming spot? Perhaps we are getting too precious about cleanliness.
I can remember in my
youth swimming at St Heliers alongside toilet waste, and it being a bit of a
talking point. But we kept on swimming, taking the water into our mouths, but not
drinking it. You wouldn't drink seawater anyway. It was obviously perfectly acceptable for the Auckland City Council for years, 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. Eco,scinr science will have us believe that the
moment you get into the water, the dirt leaves the water and covers your body. It has been waiting for something or someone to latch onto. That is
simply not the case.
It is about time that
me to grips with what is real and what is fantasy. Most people 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 is added to make it taste
acceptable. This is considered purified city water, and preferable to the water off the
Water is part of agriculture. But so are animals. It is a fact of life that they are inseparable. In an ideal greenies vworld
there are no farm 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