We live if rivers live

16 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

This only means that we will die with the deaths of the rivers. Yes, this is how our life, ecology and the economy and, to some extent, our culture are integrally bound up with the life of the rivers. Being a delta, our country is a product of the river system on the northern coast of the Bay of Bengal. And the bigger is the delta, the greater is the contribution of the rivers to the geophysical formation of the land. The three mighty rivers namely the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna, along with hundreds of their tributaries flowed over millions of years over the region, carried immense quantities of silt and deposited them over the entire region and thus gave rise to the largest delta in the world.

Due to the hot and humid weather and availability of sweet water round the year, a distinct type of flora and fauna developed over the land and shaped the economy of the people living here. In addition to these, the complex river network also served as a communication system and provided people with immense quantities of fish as the highest source of animal protein.

The importance of rivers in our life hardly needs elaboration. In spite of that, we let many of the rivers die and lose navigability under the two-pronged assault from nature and human beings. The four rivers around the city and the other that flows by the port city are the best examples of our sheer negligence and cruelty to rivers. The result is, despite the highest percentage of water bodies per unit area, we are now overwhelmingly dependent on ground water for irrigation and drinking. Our ecology and environment as well as the livelihood are now hit hard by the moribund condition of the rivers. Reclamation of the entire river system is the only way out.

That the government is going to chalk out a long-term master plan not only for retaining the five important rivers that supply lifeblood to the capital and the port city but also for many other rivers across the country is a good piece of news. But mere eviction of the encroachers is far from enough to achieve the objectives; all the major rivers should be brought back to life through regular dredging and other necessary measures.