By Vijay Phanshikar :
THE biggest problem is that our water-bodies are easily accessible to people -- rivers, lakes, ponds, tanks. Anybody can access those and do anything there -- from bathing to dumping garbage to defecating. And that is what we have been doing on a regular basis, as if as a matter of right -- in the process giving the water-bodies almost a slow poison and kill those in time. That has happened with quite a few water-bodies in our beloved city of Nagpur. And yet, nobody is waking up and taking the right step to correct the wrong -- the people or the powers that be in the civic administration or the Government. By those standards, all of us are ranked criminals. But there can be an easier solution for this problem of easy access to water-bodies. It may be a lot less expensive.
If the civic authorities muster enough money to start building a strong fence around water-bodies with controlled access, much of the garbage dumping problem will be solved almost overnight. For, in Nagpur at least, people can access the Naag River or the Pohra River or the Pili River or any lake or pond without any hitch and mess up things. People have built shanties and homes right at the edge of water-bodies in many places in the city. Once this human interference with the natural ecosystem of a water-body begins, then its expanse starts shrinking faster than one can imagine. For, a water-body is a living entity, and has a soul of its own. It shrinks when somebody invades its ecosystem. This has happened at almost every water-body in Nagpur -- though nobody has felt bothered. But if the authorities start erecting a strong fence around the water body and restrict people’s access to the place, then much of the problem may get sorted out almost immediately.
Let us talk about the Naag River once again. This river-turned-gutter may take thousands of crores of rupees for rejuvenation without a guarantee of full success. That process may not be avoidable, all right. But if the entire 44-kilometer course of the Naag River is fenced, and the people are not allowed to access the banks, then garbage dumping would stop and the river would have a better chance of remaining clean.
There are several bridges, too, across the Naag River, and a strong and tall fence could be built on both sides of the bridges so that people would not dump garbage into the water-flow below. Fencing the water-bodies can of course never be a final solution. A thorough cleansing of the water-bodies would be an absolute necessity -- as a parallel stage. But even if we are able to stop garbage dumping into water-bodies in our city, then we may be achieve a very major goal in environmental protection. The loosefooter finds this a practical and practicable solution to saving our water-bodies from at least garbage-dumping