NEW DELHI – River is not just a source of life in India; it represents faith and belief of the many million Indians who pray and preach the river for its mystical essence. But now the major rivers in India are threatening lives of millions of people who depend on the water from these rivers for sustenance. A team of 11 environmental activists cycled through the Gangetic plains covering about 1,800km in 27 days and have discovered that the devout rivers of these plains are turning into ‘sewage’ and becoming increasingly life threatening. The team members crossed 24 rivers while cycling through north Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, reached the capital and then cycled to their final stop at Dehra Dun.
Dr. Anil P Joshi is the team head of the environmental team from the Dehra Dun-based environmental NGO, HESCO. He is also a Padma Shri-awardee. On the current situations of these rivers, he said, “Not one river was fit to bathe in. The water at many places resembled sewage water. Among the most polluted rivers we came across was the Yamuna in western UP, Varuna and Gandak,” as reported by TNN.
Dr. Joshi further informed, “The growing pollution of rivers is a stark sign of wider ecological imbalance in the region.”
The aim of the survey done on the journey or ‘yatra’ by the environmental team was to increase awareness on the need to keep a track of India’s natural resources. The team is insisting the government to introduce an annual green measure entitled the ‘’gross environmental product’ or GEP. Joshi claims, “Like the GDP for the economy, the GEP would monitor the health of India’s natural assets, showing whether these were being overexploited or not,” as reported by TNN.