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Are we the Toppers in toppling the great Rivers.

Jun 17, 2019

Are we the Toppers in toppling the great Rivers.
Are we the Toppers in toppling the great Rivers. | Photography: Thehindu

Urbanization! A phenomenon, growing at a record pace, has turned rustic heartlands into sophisticated housing developments, industrial buildings, shopping centers etc., elevating the lifestyle of people to a great extent. But....at the cost of the main prerequisite for human survival- the natural water bodies.

The vast network of water sprawling across the length and breadth of the country, catering the agricultural and domestic needs of the people of the country, in the form of rivers, lakes and ponds, has been polluted due to human activities.

Niti Aayog claims that paucity of clean domestic water is becoming more and more ubiquitous. Over 600 millions of people in India are expected to face shortage. Majority of Indian population does not have access to drinking water on their living or working premises.

Though India boasts of being one of the most rapidly growing countries, nearly 70% of its water wealth is contaminated.

Here is a brief discussion about the most polluted rivers in India.

The wealth of Nizam's capital

The river that is supposed to embellish the historic city of Hyderabad, has become a massive drainage due to the chemical discharges from the industries, in and around the city. The Genome valley project launched in 1999 has been one of the major contributors of reduced water supply in the city. People are making use of the dried up river bed to dump human wastes.  

Holiness turned into threat

River Ganga which enjoyed a great religious significance in India in the past, has become unfit for bathing, let alone drinking. Alarming levels of toxic and non toxic pollutants are being released into the river almost everyday. Many programs have been launched to clean up the water body and revive it's lost holiness, but there has been very little progress.

The lifeline of Delhi

River Yamuna is reported to exhibit alarming levels of disease causing bacteria, Coliform, due to heavy metal wastes and industrial discharges. There is no proper channel to redirect the industrial wastes from polluting the natural wealth. This has seriously impacted the agriculture taking place in the Yamuna belt. Several measures have been adopted both by the state and the central government. But the pollution level only keeps increasing.

River Gomati

The alarming ph levels has killed the marine life of the river. No efficient steps have been taken to curb the water pollution. The construction of walls on the river banks has only stopped the river flow and its capacity to self clean.

Similarly, river Sabarmathi (Ahmedabad), river Mithi (Mumbai), river Cooum (Chennai), river Vishabavathi (Bangalore) have been regarded as few of the most polluted rivers in the world.

The water bodies have become an easy target for people to dump municipal wastes and industries to release metallic residues. Polluted river water has also impacted the quality of the groundwater.

The water wealth underneath has turned extremely saline and affecting the health of agricultural lands. The quality of crops and grains obtained from polluted deltas have gone down significantly. Human activities have destroyed the natural habitats of fishes, birds, otters and other animals. Many species of fishes are almost at the verge of extinction due to reduced water flow.

Apart from water pollution, there are many other threats to water sources. In metro cities and towns, the river beds are encroached and have been converted into buildings and apartments

With the natural wealth diminishing at an alarming rate, it is high time for man to stop the world from becoming a garbage can. Nature provides free lunch to everyone, but only if we know how to control our appetite.