Today I shall be talking about our rivers and ‘Rally for Rivers’ a new initiative that has been taken to save rivers You guys must be knowing about the state in which rivers are these days Some people claim them to be ‘holy’ and take a dip in them But I would prefer staying away from such rivers They have got polluted to such an extent that they can’t be called anything less than a sewer They have started taking shape of a dirty drainage The waste of the cities from where they flow gets dumped straightaway in these rivers and to add to this is the industrial pollution that gets dumped in them And friends these days due to Global warming and other reasons like deforestation, sand-mining the water that should be retained in the rivers is also running out our rivers have started drying out It has been predicted that by 2030, only 50% of the water will be available it would be sufficient for the survival of the population of India
Rally for Rivers
So now a person named ‘Jaggi Vasudev’ has initiated ‘Rally for Rivers’ the purpose of it is to create awareness about rivers to as many people as possible to make people aware about the dismal state of rivers and to suggest the government to change some policies to improve them so that the conditions improve For this he is seeking the support of as many people as possible he has asked people to give a missed call on a number provided by him this missed call will act as a vote so later they can show it to the government and say that these many people had given a missed call and they support our initiative which includes our suggestions for the changes in the policies so the changes this gentleman is suggesting are to plant trees for a distance of 1 km alongside the rivers, to give a forest cover if it’s a government land then to develop forest covers and if it’s farmland then to plant fruit trees on the land Jaggi Vasudev says that this policy.
Change of planting trees is a very basic idea it’s a very small and basic step to make people understand he plans to make a long policy document in the month of October it will be a team of about 15 people from environmentalists to ecologists who would suggest him the changes required and they will forward this 3-4 pages of the suggestive document to the government it will also mention action on various other issues many people are supporting this cause of rally for rivers politicians from different political parties, celebrities and people from different walks of life many controversies have propped up now because Mr. Jaggi is traveling from Kanyakumari to the Himalayas by a line of cars as these cars will emit CO2 and its also being said that some corporates are funding this initiative
Corporate Social Responsibility
I feel that these are very petty issues, especially one of the cars because if we start pointing out such small issues then we won’t be able to do anything and talking about the fundings coming from the corporate companies as far as these corporates don’t have their selfish motives and they are taking this up as a social responsibility then there’s no harm in it so I would avoid talking about the controversies as i feel this is a very big opportunity so many people have gathered together and this a very good opportunity to finally clean the rivers I would like to give this campaign a benefit of doubt everyone who is running this wants good for the country after understanding all this, I would now like to give some solutions on how the rivers can be cleaned and what should the government do in this And what
How to Save our Rivers?
Mr. Jaggi’s team should incorporate in their document and what the citizens should do The biggest suggestion which their policy document states are to plant trees up to 1km alongside the rivers according to me, just starting to plant trees along the riverbed should not seal the deal they must state that only local plants should be planted throughout this area the trees that are locally found in India the ones that match the biodiversity of India, the ones that have evolved in India for eg. Banyan, Jamun, Neem, Peepal all these are the local plants and trees of India it’s very important to follow this or else if they ask to plant any random tree and the government workers
Who are allotted for this particular task plant a lot of random trees just for the sake of completing the target then it will be way too harmful especially if the plants they are planting are ‘Invasive plant species these are the plants or trees that are imported from foreign countries and they transform into a pest here Friends you won’t believe every year India incurs a loss of $91 billion because of this so-called invasive plant species these plants grow very easily and they destroy the local diversity completely crops gets destroyed, farmers get severely affected and the existing local trees also get disturbed and eventually destroyed The country incurs a lot of loss, so it’s very important to grow only local species so trees here become a way to conserve water.
Traditional Water Conservation Techniques
The second way to conserve water is by using traditional methods you guys may not be aware of the fact that about 400-500 years ago and even thousand of years ago Indus Valley Civilization had better irrigation techniques than what we have now better sewage system than what we have now we can learn and adopt a lot from their water conservation techniques here are some examples which I’d like to show y’all This is a Jhalara, it’s used in Rajasthan they are wells in a rectangular shape with stairs constructed on them this is called Bawari this is Ramtek these are some of the many ways in which water used to be collected in olden times these are very simple, economic and will be effective too if used today because India is a vast country and its divided into many states.
I feel each state should choose and plant their local trees and must choose their local, traditional water harvesting techniques they should select a handful and should focus only on it this will enable them to focus on the local variety and a policy could be formulated the third thing is Sand mining, my friends sand mining means digging for sand near riverbeds and using them later for construction its legal in some places but is illegal in most of the places but these days it has become a mafia business the total predicted business of it each year is $120 billion this is a major factor which leads to the drying up of rivers there’s a high possibility of flooding because of sand mining government has taken some efforts to overcome this like in the year 2015, union government had issued some ‘guidelines for sand mining’ but the decision didn’t make any difference some states are planning to ban sand mining but it leads to nothing because most of the times politicians are involved in sand mining so there needs to be a major change in the policy.
I personally feel, the government should totally ban any kind of sand mining when there will be nothing legal or illegal left so any kind of sand mining could be raided and caught now some people will argue that if sand mining is illegal, then how will one get construction material There’s a thing called ‘manufactured sand’, this has always been available but not being used construction companies don’t use it because they have to pay for its mining in the river yields free sand, whereas manufactured sand asks to be purchased so the solution exists but no one is willing to spend any money on it there should be a complete ban on sand mining so friends from the above points, flooding, and drying of the rivers can be prevented but the river will still flow dirty if only these 3 points are taken into implemented the most important point here is that the wastewater and sewage water that gets dumped in our rivers.
Waste Water & Sewage
Let’s take the example of Ganga, the one whom we address as the ‘holy’ river it flows through and along 222 cities and in each of those cities the amount of garbage which bundles up the amount of waste which the residents of these cities generate 80% of it gets dumped in the river If you stay in any such city, a city near which any river flows the chances of the waste that you accumulate and throw it in a dustbin all these efforts are in vain because about 80% of it will be dumped in the river, as it is so friends here there are two things the government is not solely responsible both government and the citizens are responsible for it, equally because the government is not wholly responsible for generating all the waste we too are accountable for it so we will have to think as an individual, of the waste that we generate and how to minimize it and along with reducing.
How to make most of it biodegradable at the same time like minimize the use of plastic this is a vast topic but if I were to explain it in short basically the first thing is to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste which means to separate wet and dry waste should avoid the practice of throwing biodegradable waste in the dustbin as it is it’s going to get dumped in the river later we should collect it at our homes and should make a compost pit out of it you can search on google and see it for yourself how simple it is to convert it into manure and you can use it as a manure for the trees and plants around you just by following this there can be about 50% reduction in the waste, that
We accumulate if each and every person living in the city starts following this then there will be an overall reduction of waste by 50% and the waste that flows in the river will also be reduced by 50% then the next stage for us should be to avoid using plastic products and to maximize the use of local products and the traditional packaging that we used to use should be brought back for instance when you eat chaat-papdi, we now get it in plastic plates a few years ago it used failed to provide good sewage and drainage system in cities so that all the waste can accumulate in one place they failed to provide us with sewage treatment plant where we could treat sewage we either dump them in our landfills or in our rivers to improve this, Ganga Action Plan 1 had taken off,
When Rajiv Gandhi was in power the plan was to construct many sewage treatment plants but after few years they failed to function one may blame corruption or the inefficiency of the government and after that, all the governments who came to power promised that they will clean the Ganges you may notice in all Ganga action plans, one thing was common, it was to construct as many sewage treatment plants to construct more waste treatment plants there were few constructions, but they were with respect to the old populace our population increased drastically, this lead to more generation of waste, so it couldn’t manage so much load in today’s time, all the existing treatment plants are highly insufficient around 30% of the sewage
Which generates in the city gets treated in sewage treatment plant it is nothing but natural that the government will have to focus more on this as to how to improve it how to build more sewage plants and maintain them so that all the waste gets treated I am hopeful that when the policy document gets submitted by the Rally for rivers organization, all these points will be included. and concrete policies will be enforced on the basis of it and friends here all of you must take charge action taken by the government alone won’t be sufficient as I had mentioned earlier, we are responsible for the generation of tonnes of waste so, in order to reduce it, we would have to change ourselves and do something There are also people who use rivers for rituals sometimes they offer it flowers, sometimes Ganesha idols this usually happens in Varanasi and Maharashtra.