Environmentalists have welcomed the recent decision of the Uttarakhand high court to declare the Ganga and Yamuna rivers as “legal persons”. The objective is to mitigate the impact of harm done to these rivers on a daily basis. Humanizing these natural resources is a positive step taken in the direction of environmental conservation.

Indians, since eons, have been wreaking havoc on our rivers. Frequent dumping of solid waste and release of untreated chemicals have affected the quality and volume of water present in our rivers to a large extent.

“Rivers such as Ganga and Yamuna have been bestowed the status of goddesses. Many mountains and naulas (water sources) are dedicated to gods, signifying importance of their conservation. The court order is just a legal aspect; conservation has been sanctified in the spiritual domain,” environmental activist Anil Joshi told HT.

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“Most of the water sources have temples – a message for their conservation. There is a tradition of dedicating forests to gods so that the trees are not cut,” said Suresh Bhai who has been fighting for conservation of rivers. He added that rivers must be conserved in their pristine form.

SheThePeople.Tv spoke to environmentalist Nirmala Kandalgaonkar about the Uttarakhand High Court’s decision.

“Due to this categorization, cases can be brought before the courts directly on behalf of the Ganga River. This could be an extremely useful legal tool in fighting actions like dumping of waste in the river,” -Nirmala Kandalgaonkar 

This is not the first time that rivers are being treated as “persons” to ensure their protection. A few weeks ago, the New Zealand government declared its third longest river Whanganui river a legal person.

This innovative strategy of thwarting people from polluting the rivers can go a long way in conserving our natural resources for the present and future generations. The only cause of worry, however, is that we are living in a world where even human beings are not spared. Can we really expect people to respect and protect their fellow humans? We will have to wait to evaluate how far this measure helps.

Image Credits: DNA India

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Charvi Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV