India needs to make a successful push to restore its Long-Abused & Destroyed Rivers !
India needs make a successful push to restore its Long-Abused & Destroyed Rivers
Can the next Decade be the “Decade for Restoration of Rivers & Ecology” to a satisfactory status?
The entire world is realizing the significance of restoring its rivers to their natural glory. The restoration may not perfect but it will make room for the rivers. The rivers cannot be made straight allow them to meander.
Basic approach needs to change for good, for success.
- Nature is an inconvenience and therefore needs to be tamed. Man cannot afford to pick fight with nature, which anyway he will always lose. Find ways to work with nature.
- There are enough skeptics and naysayers that restoration projects will harm the ecology. Earlier efforts have drained thousands of crores without any impact. But then it was because lack of holistic framework, improper governance and the strong political imperative
- The task mammoth but not insurmountable. All it needs is a big push.
- Results need to be seen by people. It will happen in phased manner but can be done for sure. Define framework to bring rivers to
- “Satisfactory Status” in next 10 years
- “Good Status” in next 15 years
- “Restored Status” in next 25 years
Define these phrases well, simple, measurable accountable and for community to understand
- “Satisfactory” means- Rivers should no longer be used as industrial sewers and filth discharge. Approximately 1 billion litres of raw, untreated sewage are dumped in the river on a daily basis
- “Good “ means – River pollution within acceptable level. Currently the coliform bacteria level in water 2800 times the safe level in Ganges ( as for WHO).
- “Restored Status”- River restored closer to natural state which means Restoring rivers also requires recreating old channels, meanders, re-vegetating banks, and reconnecting rivers with their floodplains. The task is huge.
- Community based approach – Giving people a decisive role in management of rivers with high level accountability. Any revival action needs to be supplemented with strict laws and regulations fixing responsibility for every action and non-action. Ganga Action Plan (GAP) had lots of GAP. Let’s learn from them.
Although river like Holy Ganges has a unique ability to hold and retain oxygen in record amounts but let us not abuse it any more.
Let us trace the river paths, identify the pressure points and ease the pain for the entire basins. Let us give life back to rivers.