Freshwater is a scarce resource and one which might become the object of war. We are already seeing the effect of this important resource exploitation. This year Johannesburg went without water for little close to a month. There was not enough water for drinking, and they could not use the water of the four rivers which are nearby. The cause was water pollution. As for data two-thirds of the earth is water, but how much is usable? Well, just 1% of the total water is usable in form of groundwater, lakes and rivers. We need to protect this resource. We in India are having so many rivers which are fighting pollution from industries. The mother Ganga which flows beside Yoga Retreat in Rishikesh is also fighting pollution.
The causes and ways to fight River water pollution
- Treatment of sewage – One of the main causes of pollution in rivers is the sewage and it grows every day with the growing population of the world. Yes, the pollution can be minimized but yet the water is polluted. In the case of the river Ganga which is the lifeline of Northern India, sewage is one of the main pollutants which has decreased the water quality in the past 25 years. I remember that water was drinkable at Haridwar 15 years back, but as per data in 2018 the water is not fit for bathing. Isn’t that unforgivable.
- Industrial Waste – Many industries are there on the banks of rivers all around the world, as most of the human settlement is beside rivers. The reason for human settlement is drinkable water availability from rivers, but the industrial waste which contains harmful chemicals is making the water toxic. The industries should not be allowed at all to dump in rivers and should make arrangements for it.
- Plastics and its dumping – Polyethylene is one of the inventions that is helping us many ways, but the waste disposal has become a worldwide issue. Plastic does not decompose, and its most widely used. Packaging, carrying all kinds of use means this non-destroyable waste is growing by the day. The only way to counter is to go to the old ways and stop using it in form of carry bags and also refrain from using it in packaging.
- Educating people on Pollution – Awareness is the first step towards making people realize that water pollution is more dangerous than wars. It does not kill you instantly but can lead to the reduction in quality of life and diseases.
- Dams and ridges construction – This is another thing that causes sediment pollution in river water. Yes, it is essential for generating electricity but to what end. Water is a necessity for survival and should be kept clean. So, dmas and ridges building should also have arrangements of cleaning the water that flows after collecting.
The water of rivers is the very reason for human survival and no science can compensate for the way we are polluting our rivers. While I was in Rishikesh on the banks of river Ganga, I saw many students cleaning the river during their 200 Hours Hatha Yoga Teacher Training Course. This the need of the hour to pay attention to the pollution control and solve the problem as soon as possible for our own good.
The founder of the Isha Foundation launched the nationwide campaign of Rally for rivers in order to develop the awareness to protect the rivers of the country and find out the suitable measures to tackle the issues of the water scarcity as well as appropriate steps to control the water pollution.
The event started in September 2017 from Coimbatore in South India and organized various events from Kanya kumari to Himalayas. Various organizations and states governments and thousands of volunteers joined the rally across the country . There were participants of many leading Yoga Schools in India.
One of the focus of the rally was to create huge awareness of the environment and sustainability using the most economic and eco friendly procedures and policies under the expertise of the environmental scientists,experts and practitioners across the country and even some experienced experts from abroad were the part of this mega event which culminated on 02 October 2017 in Delhi. The main rivers such as Ganga,Narmada, Krishna and Kaveri are depleting with a high speed posing a great threat to the bio diversity . The River Ganga which is one of the longest river of the country taking birth in the majestic Himalayas and passing through the mountains of Rishikesh, a place known for Yoga and Meditation for centuries.
It was decided to plant trees which can hold the moisture through the deep roots in order to prevent soil erosion and to enhance the underground water levels. The farmers are encouraged to use their land for cultivating the fruit and encouraged to practice the organic farming. The recommendations also included to prevent the discharge of the industrial wastes to the rivers and the protection of the rivers belts with green belt using the support and cooperation by the local governments and the institutions of the area.
Rivers around the world have been the lifeline of the civilization as they are of great support for the sustainable environment for many reasons. The river Ganges in India is one of the largest river in the world by discharge.It has its origin in the Himalayan Valley, the place is called Gangotri which is one of the four shrines of Uttarakhand State. The confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers gives the mainstream for the flow of Ganges in the majestic Himalayan mountains with the serenity.
Rishikesh and Haridwar, the two heritage cities of India are located on the banks of this river which have been the seats of the spirituality and Study of Yoga in India. Varanasi is another holy city across the river in the state of Uttarapradesh. The river is one of the major attractions for spiritual tourism and pilgrimage in India. River rafting in Rishikesh is one of the most popular tourism of attraction of north India.
Indian agricultural activities are well supported by the Ganges and its tributaries due to the fertile soil in its basin. Various commercial crops are cultivated across the flow of the river. The Hydrology of the river has given ample opportunities for various industrial and power projects.
The river is experiencing heavy environmental concerns in the recent times due to the mining and other industrial wastes being discharged to the river. Ecological balance is being disturbed by the improper use of this natural resource of the country.
Ever since humans first started settling in organized cities the supply of water has always been of utmost importance. The historical connection between rivers and civilization is evident when you look at the world map of countries with a long history. In the old Persian, Roman or Greek civilization, cities were founded close to the coast or to a great flowing river. Many of these cities still exist today and bear a witness of water shaping human civilization. The most important trade cities of early civilizations became big, bustling modern capitals and this all thanks to trade and business arriving via nautical trade routes. In countries with no coast lines cities grew along rivers and people soon learned how to control the flow and save water for dry periods. With irrigation and the building of dams and canals, rivers and civilization started walking hand in hand throughout history and there is not doubt how dependent we are of water. Today, UN estimates that more than 1 billion people lacks access to clean, drinkable water and climate change is making water a valuable commodity around the world.
The Hwang Ho Flood in the years 1887, 1931 and 1938 have been imprinted on the minds of the Chinese people who have lived through them. The river, 4,845 km and the 7th longest river in the world, is a dirty yellow colour and often referred to as the ‘Yellow River’. It is known for its ability to bring both prosperity and ruin to the surrounding region. It is one of China’s largest rivers, and the devastating floods have killed millions of people between them. what causes a flood like this is heavy rains creating more water upstream. As the water flows strongly downstream to low-lying areas, it floods lands and homes. The alluvial plains of the Hwang Ho are particularly fertile, but the river has burst its banks many times, ruining the crops. The Hwang Ho flood is known to be the deadliest natural disaster, bringing enormous damage to the surrounding countryside and its people. Small wonder that this flood is often referred to as ‘China’s Sorrow’.
If you are visiting Vietnam then a Mekong River day tour is a must have experience. The Delta stretches nearly 15,000 square miles west of Ho Chi Minh City. The mighty Mekong river travels over 2,700 miles from the plateaus of Tibet and ends the journey at the South China Sea. This area is often called ‘the rice bowl’ of Vietnam as it is extremely fertile and covered with rice plantations. Surrounding scenery is green and lush, fostering huge areas of farmed coconuts, mangoes and vegetables. Local life thrives around the river so if you want to see and experience the real culture of Vietnam, then a Voyage along the Mekong is the only real way to do it. There are waterways, vibrant local villages, thriving farms and small industries and you will see daily life unfold. The river is full of floating markets which start in the early morning and create a little hustle and bustle along the waterways and riverbanks. However, generally, the pace along the river is relaxed and serene. You can sail on numerous different types of boats depending on the personal experience that you want. There are luxury cruise ships, amazing sampans, huge barges and smaller sailboats to choose from. Take a few days aboard cruising with your own cabin or sample a short sunset cocktail cruise. The choice is yours, but a Mekong River day tour is a must have experience for everyone.
The world is facing many disasters, but water shortages are the worst. No water equals no life. Water conservation examples are many, and every one of us needs to be conserving water one way or the other. Taking shorter showers and checking your water meter to check for hidden water leaks are just some ways to conserve water. Virtual reality may be able help us visualise some of the problems we are facing in the world. As the years pass, climate change is a reality and scientists think that the world needs to be kept up to date with water conservation examples but to the other troubles the world is in. This is so they can all contribute towards making changes. Virtual reality is a powerful tool in getting people to rethink the planet and their relationship with it, and of course its diminishing resources. With the development of new satellite Internet solutions, we should all be constantly alerted about the fragile state our planet is in.