Cleansing Nambul river to preserve state’s history

On account of the latest campaign to save the Loktak Lake from human ignorance giving emphasis on collecting waste materials from the confluence of the Nambul river, before the polluting substances reach the water body, the initiative appears to be realistic. In the past, all campaigns carried out in the name of preserving the bio-diversity of the largest fresh water lake in the north east region, were evidently confined to carrying out awareness programmes with the sole belief that the public need to be driven home the message on conservation of natural resources. The latter mode of campaign, however, failed to make any significant inroads or change the mind-set of the people, for those who mattered the most believed that the Nambul river is their birth-right for dumping discarded items. Regardless of municipal authorities and some private agencies undertaking waste collection and disposal activities so as to maintain decorum of the capital city in the aftermath of the city dwellers, most of whom are considered to be educated and among the creamy layer of the society, a random survey will bring to light that substantial number of the populace settling close to the main roads and the river themselves do not care to subscribe to the venture for making the city filth-free. With awareness campaigns seeking cooperation and participation of the masses in conservation of water bodies and maintaining the ecological balance finding no serious takers as is evident from continuous pollution caused to Nambul river, the latest mode of saving the Loktak Lake should be helpful to the cause for protecting the eco-system of the lake as well as in preserving the history of Manipur.

Taking into account of the Central government launching the ‘Namami Gange Programme’ as a flagship programme with budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore so as to accomplish the objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of river Ganga, which is one of the longest rivers in the country that flows through various states and even greater number of highly polluting industrial units set up along its banks, there is no reason why the Namami Nambul River and Loktak Lake campaign should not be sustained at any cost to reap the fruit of the campaign. Compared with the Nambul river, which the campaigners would be focusing on, cleansing river Ganga will be an arduous task for the project implementing authorities who are learnt to have been entrusted for implementing the task within 10 years. Moreover, successful sanitising of the Nambul river will be technically limited to encouraging the citizens not to dump wastes into the water body and to collect discarded objects while activities associated with the Namami Gange mission entails exhaustive and intensive exercises on creating sewerage treatment capacity, creating river-front development, river surface cleaning, bio-diversity conservation, afforestation, industrial effluent monitoring, etc. Realisation about growing importance of water bodies, rivers in particular, in all aspects of life could also be comprehended from the Government of Assam celebrating Namami Brahmaputra as an international festival, during which host of activities to showcase Assam’s art, heritage and culture are held in 21 districts across the state touched by the Brahmaputra. As Nambul river’s length is comparatively insignificant when compared with rivers like Ganga and Brahmaputra, using nets or other devices to collect the wastes at multiple points of the state’s river rather than at only a specific location might be an effective mechanism.

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