Washington: In a bid to help India, the World Bank approved USD 1 billion loan to clean its River Ganga that accounts for one fourth of the country’s water resources.

The river is facing extreme pollution pressures and threats to its biodiversity, the bank said in a statement on Tuesday.  The Ganga basin is home to more than 400 million Indians.

“ Today Only about one-third of the sewage generated by the towns and cities along the river are treated, while a significant volume of untreated or poorly treated industrial effluents are discharged into the river,” the statement said.

“The World Bank is honored to be able to support the government in its efforts to revitalize this holy and mighty river of India,” a newspaper quoted Roberto Zagha, the bank's country director for India, as saying.  In 2009, India had set up the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) to help clean the river.

“The government of India which is clearly committed to this has a robust plan of action and is dedicating the required resources for this national effort. I am confident that with sustained public and political support for the NGRBA Program, significant progress towards cleaning the Ganga will be achieved,” Zagha said.