Nature crushed under development
The rivers winding through landscapes like strips of matte and glossy ribbon are not only inexistant but en route to being vanquished from memories forever.
“A stream which once flowed clean and fresh, a stream which once was crystal clear and a stream that was so lively was this river”, said S P Roy, a resident of Dhankheti who used to bathe in the waters of the Umshyrpi 40 years ago.
“Fresh from its source, it used to flow right next to our house”, recollected Ms. Biswas. It is, however, contrasting to see the present state of the river now.
A victim of development, a silent viewer of torment and a soundless object of nature is the Umshyrpi.
With a surge in development, buildings have sprung up in various places. This includes the very banks of the river which has been narrowed due to encroachment on both sides coupled with continuous construction works.
Since the past few years, it has also served as a dumping ground for all sorts of wastes and rubbish. The domestic wastes were all directed to the stream. This only worsened the situation as plastic bags, urban wastes, kitchen wastes etc piled up and bred insects, mosquitoes, flies etc. Yet people seem totally unaffected by all this.
The most hideous and repugnant sight can be seen during the heavy rains.
The river would get totally flooded with every variety of rubbish entering the premises of people’s houses. The residents even witnessed the movement of filthy rats, brought by the waters of the river, in their premises.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, the authorities decided to take immediate measure.
Much was done concerning the deteriorating state of the river. Dumping of wastes on the river was banned and fines were imposed on the violators. Another step of building a large cemented garbage tub was taken by the municipality in the Dhankheti area so that the residents could dump their household wastes in it. The tub was cleared of its contents daily by the municipal truck. These efforts definitely improved the look of the river to a certain extent.
At present, the condition remains the same.
The approach of the people is still insensitive towards the river.
Callous dumping of wastes by some people is still prevalent.
Having no sense of ethics, people are persistently polluting the river with every brand of refuse and trash. The sight of the river itself is totally revolting to an onlooker. Flies buzzing every around the filth, islands of fecal matter blocking the free flow of water etc. What is the possible end to this pollution of the Umshyrpi? Until the people change their outlook and their consequent approach, no change can be sought and brought. People should be made aware of the consequences of careless dumping otherwise the river will take its toll on the people. (By Meghna Deb Roy)