This paper while attempting to estimate the social benefits of cleaning the Ganges river in India highlights some of the emerging environmental and development issues in the river cleaning programmes. Methods involving the market and non-market valuation of environmental goods are used to estimate the benefits. The benefits estimated include user and non-user benefits, health benefits to the poor households living along the river, and agricultural benefits to farmers among other benefits. However, the benefits from fisheries, one of the important components of benefits from the river cleaning, could not be quantified in this paper. With the benefits that could be quantified, the program of cleaning the Ganges has positive net present social benefits at a 10 per cent social rate of discount and an internal rate of return as high as 15 per cent. Furthermore the estimates of benefits of river cleaning obtained in this paper provide guidance for designing the policy instruments to raise revenue for sustaining the river cleaning processes in India. A number of different mechanisms are considered to raise the resources for sustaining the cleaning of Ganges. They are a polluter-pays principle, a user-pays principle (with government involvement), a user-pays principle (without government involvement), and funding from the general tax system.
A. MARKANDYA and Maddipati Narsimha Murty, “Cost–benefit analysis of cleaning the Ganges: some emerging environment and development issues”, Environment and Development Economics, vol. 9, pp. 61–81, 2004.