Expressing concern at the adverse health effects of polluted Ganga water on citizens, the National Green Tribunal on Friday asked for health warning signs to be put up at the river.

It directed National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to install display boards at a gap of 100 kilometres, indicating whether the Ganga water was fit for bathing or drinking.

“If cigarette packets can contain a warning saying it is ‘injurious to health’, why not the people be informed of the adverse effects (of the river water),” the NGT said.

Noting that the water of the Ganga river, between Haridwar and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, was unfit for drinking and bathing, the NGT said that innocent people drank and bathed in the river with reverence, without knowing that it may adversely affect their health.

“Do people of this country know that Ganga water is unfit for drinking and bathing? They perform achamana (purification ritual) thinking that they will go to heaven. Can you imagine which heaven will they go to if they drink this polluted water,” noted the NGT bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel.

The bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi and expert members SS Gabrayal and Nagin Nanda, said, “We are of the view that on account of great reverence to great Ganga, innocent persons may drink, do achamana and bathe without knowing that the water is unfit for consumption. It is of utmost necessity to comply with the right to live of persons using Ganga water and they are put to notice about the fitness of water.”

“If cigarette packets can contain a warning saying it is ‘injurious to health’, why not the people be informed of the adverse effects (of the river water),” the NGT said.

Asking the NMCG to install display boards at a gap of 100 kilometres to indicate whether the water was fit for bathing or drinking, the NGT also directed the NMCG and the Central Pollution Control Board to place on their website, within two weeks, a prominent map showing where the water was good for bathing and drinking.