E Coli

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Context: The government has commissioned a Rs. 9.3 crore study to assess the microbial diversity along the entire stretch of 2500 km of Ganga River to assess the presence of microbes that may promote antibiotic resistance.


Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, is a Gram-negative, anaerobic, rod-shaped, coliform bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in their hosts.

Faecal coliform (FC) bacteria, such as E Coli, are found in excreta that contaminates through untreated sewage. A high level of faecal coliform means greater chances of contaminating diseases.

Ganga’s faecal coliform bacteria level is found to be 3 to 12 times higher than the permissible limit at most interstate boundaries, per the data released by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Some of the most polluted stretches were Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi in UP. At the Jajmau pumping station in Kanpur in 2017, FC levels were 10- 23 times the limit.

The largescale diversion of water has made the problem worse as depleting water flow raises the concentration of pollutants. Pollution levels fluctuate, with higher water flow during and after monsoon diluting contaminant levels

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