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PIF 13 Review: The Pure and The Poisoned


In this episode of TVO’s The Water Brothers, Alex and Tyler Mifflin travel to India to explore the duality of the Ganges as both sacred and dangerously polluted.

Alex Mifflin, Tyler Mifflin, various experts on the Ganges and water pollution.

The Ganges River, worshipped as a goddess by Hindus for thousands of years. A site for ritual bathing in its scared waters, offerings, funerals but also the main water supply for millions of people. Despite its extreme pollution (more visible in some areas than others) including dead animals and human remains its status as sacred remains intact.

Alex and Tyler explore the importance of the Ganges for religious life but also survival. They seek to discover how the Ganges got to be so polluted and whether or not people are ready to accept this problem so that changes can be made.

They begin in New Delhi by looking at one of the Ganges tributaries the Yamuna. Roughly 70% of sickness and death in the Ganges river basin is attributed to water borne diseases. Further more rates of gastrointestinal cancers for people living on the banks of the Ganges and its Tributaries are some of the highest in the world. Despite this many simply can not accept that their scared river is poisoning them. Who can blame them?

If they lose the Ganges they lose a huge part of themselves also. It’s not something that would be easy for anyone to accept. Despite this, however, Alex and Tyler find plenty of people who have woken up to this harsh reality and are determined to save the Ganges and the people who depend upon it.

Should You See It?
If the Ganges can be cleaned up then there is hope for other rivers. The story of the Ganges is not one that concerns only Hindus or people living along its banks. Our history as humans is one of sacred waters ultimately profaned by our pollution. This documentary will make you see the Ganges as a paradox that affects us all.