River Festival in Mangaluru: A Humble Beginning….
Mangaluru: You can’t step into a same river twice; because it is flowing. Flowing means life. Life has to be celebrated with nature. Lot of good things are happening at coastal region of Karnataka. During 12-13, Jan 2019, “River Festival” was organized at Kuloor in Shambhavi River. It’s a good move to create awareness among general public on importance of rivers; otherwise they don’t connect themselves. It is not just for promoting tourism. We have to save our rivers. To save a plant, we will not clean the leaves good cloth. We take of roots. Similarly we need to understand the root of rivers.
About 1.97 lakh Kilometer of river stretch is there in India. In Karnataka it is 9000 km. The major rivers of Karnataka are Krishna, Cauvery, Tunga, Malaprabha, Sharavathi, Kali, Nethravathi, Bhima, Kabni, Payashwini etc. The longest is Krishna with 1400 km, Cauvery with 805 km and the least is Payashwini with 105 km. Arkavathi and Shimsha-the tributaries of Cauvery are dying in front of our own eyes. Construction of dams, Sand mining, pollution, deforestation, increased diversion of water usage, increased demand for water, encroachment of waterways of rivers, drought by global warming resulted in a reduction of flow by 65%. It does not take much time to take away the rest. More than 500 rivers in the world are in serious threat. Death of rivers is death of humanity, ecosystem and life.
Though Mangaluru receives 4000 mm rainfall annually, at times, there will be shortage of drinking water. Just two year back, two of the taluks- Bantwal and Mangaluru were categorized under drought blocks. What more alarms we need to realize the importance of water, rivers etc. If we don’t act now, many rivers may not reach the sea. Disconnection of river and the sea will disconnect us from the earth.
In many places, rivers have become dumping yards. The chicken waste, slaughter wastes, temple wastes and other domestic wastes are thrown into rivers. Industry and agriculture run off are also contributing to the pollution of rivers. As the anecdote says “My grandfather saw water in river, my father saw it in well, I am seeing in bottle and the future generation…?”
Our simple actions can bring a big change. All of us can contribute and protect our rivers for us and for future, by : Clearing waterways; Vented dams; Protecting wetlands; Not throwing any plastic and other materials into rivers; Not throwing slaughter waste; Not cutting the plants along river; Judicious mining; having Working sewage plants; Allowing only treated water released into rivers; having River Protection Force; and Respecting laws
River festival is not for speeches, selfie’s, chats and dances. It is just a humble beginning to bring people together. Now, it’s time to act. Let’s start…
by: Dr Shivakumar Magada, M.F.Sc., Ph.D
Professor and Associate Director of Extension, Department of Aquatic Environment Management, College of Fisheries, Mangaluru
Pics by Astel Pereira