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Rivers are the lifeline

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Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
International Day of Action for Rivers was celebrated on Monday to raise awareness about the importance of rivers and climate change. The day was earlier known as International Day against Dams, for Rivers, water, and life.
For centuries, rivers have played an important place in human life. Rivers are deeply embedded into the economic, social, political as well as cultural fabric of India. The early civilizations sprang up on the river banks. Ancient people knew the fertility of the river valleys and they settled down there and began to cultivate the fertile valleys. Most people often don’t realize the impact that rivers have on the living world. It is because they keep on doing their work silently.
It is to be remembered that rivers have their fair share of advantages and serve important purposes in our life. Rivers have been providing support to the human population since the start of the civilization. Around ninety six per cent of the water body consists of saline water which cannot be consumed by humans.
The Earth’s body is covered with seventy-one percent water, of which ninety-five percent is in the ocean, which is salty and is undrinkable. Rivers are the source of fresh water that is required to sustain life on Earth.
As a result, we need to rely heavily on the rivers for drinking water. Rivers are soul satisfying. Rivers are important highways. They provide the cheapest method of transport. Before the introduction of road and railway transport, the large rivers were the means of transportation and communication. The best thing about rivers is that no matter what, they keep on flowing.
It is a matter of concern that people have not realized the importance of rivers. Rivers in India are worshiped; however the same river is polluted for the sake of religion to submerse deities. Given the pace at which humans are wasting water on daily basis it’s recorded that water bodies will dry out in next twenty years.
The water rivers carry now contain pesticides and chemicals used as manure and poisonous wastes from factories. The banks of rivers are dirty and unhygienic. It is high time that we put an end to this state of affairs. Rivers must be preserved. We need to stop water pollution and river pollution.
In this time of climate crisis, floods and droughts, and growing water scarcity, protecting rivers and people are ever more urgent. Man’s life is dependent on rivers. Don’t we think it is the duty of mankind to keep them healthy and perfect, free from pollution? Let us honor the women and men who have given their lives in the struggle to save our rivers for all who depend on them.
Let us strive to keep rivers clean and preserve them for our own existence and also for the future generation. Let our younger generation be conscious of the importance of the river so that they can avoid the mistakes by our generation. Saving rivers is essential to keep the supply of freshwater steady to maintain life on the planet earth.
(The author is a columnist based at Ahmedabad)

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