Water in India has a special place, mainly because the Hindu religion sees water as a lifeline that is worthy of worship. Making its way from the Himalayas, across the Northern plains which are enriched by its deposit of fertile soil, and finally emptying itself in the Bay of Bengal, the River Ganga is the earthly form taken by a Hindu Goddess. But it isn’t just River Ganga that is revered by the people. Other water bodies are also considered sacred, especially because they eventually become the immersion grounds for all Hindu idols.
So in a country that sees water bodies as a sacred space, why are our rivers being stifled with garbage and our lakes turning into the dumping grounds of untreated sewage?
- Sewage Treatment Plants Are Scarce or Non-Functional
Sewage is the biggest problem for all water bodies in India. From the gutter-like Yamuna River which continues to swell with garbage, sewage and factory wastes; to the small lakes and ponds in and around cities and towns where animals and humans end up sharing the same bathing space. STPs are very important to safeguard the quality of our waters. Many small industries which produce industrial waste dump the wastes directly into the water bodies which can harm marine life and also alter the natural composition of water.
- Laws Protecting Water Bodies Are Slack
While there are explicit laws which protect the water bodies, few people are aware of it, and even fewer take steps to enforce such laws. Lakes, rivers and ponds suffer exponentially because of the absence of adequate enforcement of laws.
- Encroachment is Often Overlooked
As a developing economy, India is experiencing growth in many sectors, one of which is infrastructure. As more buildings rise in cities and towns, water bodies become constricted. In many cases, land which was a part of the lake area is taken up by illegal constructions.
- We Are Responsible
Water is a valuable resource for our planet. While two-thirds of our planet is covered by water, fresh water is only limited to 2% of all the water on our planet. And most of this fresh water is locked in the polar caps. So in truth, water is actually a resource that needs to be used with great care. We are responsible for the state of water bodies today. Let us take up the responsibility to keep the water bodies in our area clean.