Pune River Revival: Activists Demand Action Against Pollution, Infra Threats

Pune River Revival: Activists Demand Action Against Pollution, Infra Threats

This collective organisation focuses on improving the conditions of Mula, Mutha, Pawana, Indrayani, Ramnadi, Bhima, and Bhama rivers.

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Friday, February 23, 2024, 09:56 PM IST
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Activists in Pune, working to combat river pollution, have joined forces under the banner “Pune River Revival”. This collective organisation focuses on improving the conditions of Mula, Mutha, Pawana, Indrayani, Ramnadi, Bhima, and Bhama rivers. Over 60 civic organisations, along with citizens and activists, are advocating for the rights of these rivers. They express their seriousness by warning of escalated efforts if their demands are not met.

Pune River Revival committee conducts press conference

During a Mumbai press conference on Friday, the Pune River Revival committee, with members including Medha Patkar, Shailaja Deshpande, Santosh Lalwani, Anuja Bali, Rajeev Bhavsar, and Arjun Medankar, outlined their demands. They expressed concerns about rising river pollution caused by various factors such as solid, liquid, and medical waste from industries and households. The committee pointed out challenges like flood risks, destruction of natural green zones, and flow obstructions in the rivers. Their demands aimed at curbing pollution included protecting natural riparian zones, safeguarding groundwater, and reducing pollution influx into the rivers.

Medha Patkar said, “Our rivers are living entities and they must remain so. Even for our safety from floods, security of water and to sustain, we need to protect and allow rivers to flow as Nirmal and Aviral.”

Concerns over irreversible damage to rivers

The activists also shared their concerns regarding infrastructure projects including metro trains, ring roads and other ongoing as well as proposed riverfront development and embankments, which are causing irreversible damage to the rivers. Due to the constant pollution, Mutha and Mula rivers have become the most polluted rivers, according to the Central Pollution Control Board and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

Shailaja Deshpande said, “The carrying capacity of the rivers should be increased. All the interventions on the flow of rivers should be removed and decentralised wastewater treatment should be carried out. The administration and government should form a river rejuvenation programme to sustain the rivers.”

The citizens have warned of intensifying their struggle till the rights of rivers are respected. The committee will declare their further action plan on March 14 on Action for Rivers Day.

Challenges

Polluted waters

Heavy flood risks

Natural green zone being destroyed

Groundwater springs and shallow aquifers being choked

Obstruction in flows

Climate change not taken into consideration

Demands

No trees will be cut

Natural ripian zone will be protected

Pollution in rivers must be stopped

Protection of groundwater

Allowing rivers to flow naturally

Equity, social justice in water availability and distribution

Cultural, natural and historical heritages protected and revived

Environmental laws should not be weakened

No conditional clearance granted to any project till in-depth assessment of environmental impact is done

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