On World Environment Day on June 5, 2012, news channel CNN-IBN had focussed on a special initiative, Saving the Ganga. It was a 45-day campaign that highlighted how the sacred river is dying despite lumpsum money being spent on saving it.

The state of the most sacred river in India, the Ganga or Ganges, is continuously deteriorating. This special report video shows how dams and pollution are killing the Ganga in every state that it passes through. For thousands of years, people have been rushing to the banks of the Ganga to offer their prayers and bathe in the river. It is here, they believe, that the cycle of life begins and culminates.

But despite the sanctity the river is not as clean as it appears. When one of the foundations conducted a test of the river water, the result was a thundering slap of reality that the state of the Ganga’s purity is not what the government claims it to be. The biggest problem is that in Varanasi the city’s entire sewage is dumped into this water body. The water is not cleansing those who bathe in its purity but is rather passing on many waterborne diseases.

But to make a difference, many turtles are bred and then released into the water since the creatures are the Ganga’s new ‘safai karamchaaris’ or cleaners. As they are flesh-eating animals, they eat up the flesh and the animal remains in the water making it clean.

Watch the CNN-IBN video below.