The rivers weep

From the high peaks in the Himalayas, and down to the foothills of the mountains criss-crossing the landscape of Kashmir, as the ice and snow slowly melts it quietly trickles down the valleys, building with each meter that the water travels from tiny little droplets into rivulets that grow into streams and finally converge into massive foaming rivers that are the life blood, the veins, of life in India. In some areas these rivers are worshipped, and ultimately are the Gods that sustain and breathe the life into the soil, that provides life to the bread basket that feeds this massive nation.

While running down through Kashmir I would constantly be looking at this light blue ice cold water cascading down the valleys around me. The beautiful soothing sounds as it gurgled down the lower valleys and on with its journey it went. There is always such a spiritual mystique around water and its sustenance to life, there is an age-old respect for this irreplaceable element that makes up 80% of our being, and feeds the very life into everything that we are so reliant on to feed off and ultimately live from.

The further I have run down the length of India the more concerned I have become with the apparent disconnectivity with regard to the importance and need to preserve this limited resource. The rivers have become a conduit, but not to the sustenance of life, but to the removal and dilution of this nation’s waste. There seems to be a growing mindset that the water will wash away all the sins and effluent created by industry and the nation. There is such a fine balance that has now been destroyed. Rivers are becoming sterile stinking open sewers carrying all this pollution until it can no further. In the harsh dry season it finally runs to a dead-end chocked up with litter, and the cities and towns’ waste until all that one sees is a scar of black stinking filth punctuated with this confetti of litter.

The larger rivers that still manage to flow are black with sewerage and clogged with the thousands of tons of city waste that are dumped into them on a daily basis with the hope that the monsoon rains will once again flush out the rivers, clean them and all will be fine.

No, No, No, it won’t, the ground water is being polluted with all the chemicals being leached out of the industrial effluent that is spewed out on a daily basis as well as chemicals and pesticides used in farming. The rubbish that is dumped into rivers on a daily basis (rivers seem to be the dump site of choice) just lies and rots in the sun and goes nowhere. Nature is not going to clean up this mess. There needs to be a culture introduce that is going to turn this mindset around, it just needs to start with a simple rubbish bin. How many days have I walked or run for kilometers just to find a bin, there are none. I hold my head in shame as I see the rivers of India weeping for someone to stand up and say: ‘that’s enough’.

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