Incredible India

Why Our Rivers are Drying Up ?

Save our Rivers
Written by Banani Chakraborty

As the rivers gently weep for our rivers are drying up, so we should save them to save Indian economy and growth that depends heavily on rivers.

India is the land of rivers. Indian economy and growth depend heavily upon these rivers. But the stern reality is that

our rivers are drying up.

 Why our rivers are drying up? Rivers do not die but they are killed by human action and negligence and lack of awareness.

As The Rivers Gently Weep:

Why our rivers are drying up

Source Google Image

Almost all the rivers are going to die due to the shortfall of water supply. Added to this they have become extremely polluted.

River conservation is not only a step towards rescuing rivers from pollution and contamination but much more. We should not only try to rescue a heavily polluted river or revive a dead or dying river but also constantly thrive to save rivers from dying.

One of the biggest issues facing India right now is water pollution.

In the first place, unprocessed sewage is discharged in the river water. It is the main source of pollution of water in the river in India. Runoff from the agricultural sector, unregulated units of the small-scale industry are the other sources of water pollution. A number of slum areas on both sides of the rivers also add to the problem.

In fact, this condition is so severe that all the rivers in India are facing pollution to a great extent. Moreover, their water flows are diminishing and their tributaries are dwindling along with catchment areas which are denuding of forests day-by-day.

Most importantly, eight mighty rivers of India that are vanishing due to undemanding pollution are The Ganga, The  Yamuna, The Krishna, The Tapti, The Brahmaputra, The  Godavari, The  Kaveri, and the Narmada.

Causes of water pollution in India:

Sewage discharge:

seawage pollution

Source Google Image

Sewage discharged from cities, towns and some villages are the predominant cause of water pollution in India.

To tell the truth, only 209 cities have partial sewage treatment plants, and 8 have full wastewater treatment facilities out of 3119 towns and cities in India.

To tell the truth, major cities of India produce around 38,350million litres(MLD) of sewage per day. But, so far, the capacity of sewage treatment in urban areas of India is only approximately 11,800 million litres.

Discharge of huge quantity of untreated local sewage is the major problem for the pollution of most of the Indian rivers and they make the very serious.

Monsoons flooding:

India’s water pollution problem increases to a great extent during the monsoons season.

The rainwater when moves towards the river, brings a solid particle of wastes and contaminated soils into rivers and wetlands.  Distribution of rains throughout the country is very uneven every year.

Moreover, underground water is used at will for cultivation purpose all over the country. Therefore, water resources available for utilisation and the underground water level is decreasing every year.

As pollution degrades water quality, making this water insecure for us, the amount of water available to Indian consumers, its industry and its agriculture are also restricted.

 Uncontrolled urbanization:

As cities and towns developed and are developing mainly near the river banks or surrounding them, therefore it also aggravated the prevailing condition every year.

Moreover, water from water bodies such as ponds, lakes, wells, streams and rivers, is used for both industrial and domestic purposes, mainly in the urban regions of India. The water used in domestic purposes passes out and reach the river as wastewater.

In most of the time, this domestic water wastes are not properly filtered and leads to polluting the surface-level freshwater. Several natural reasons in the long run like scarcity in water supply amount of wastewater increases.

Moreover, the quick rise in population and the rapid growth of pollution also add to aggravate the situation of insufficient water. In the year 1951, each person can avail only 5200 cubic meters of water every year.

Significantly and alarmingly this water supply came down almost 2/3 rd. to just 1545 cubic meters in2011 and it is expected to come down to 1011 cubic meters by 2050.

This aggravates to many health problems.


Industrial Waste:

pollution from industrial waste

Source Google Image

Manufacturing processes in the industries, mills and factories, and operations in mining do produce harmful and toxic wastes.  They are operating since their start, mainly after the Industrial Revolution in full swing.

Actually, industrial wastes are ashes, chemical solvents, metals, pigments, paints, sledges, industrial by-products, paper products, radioactive wastes, sandpapers etc.  As water is the main input for industries, therefore production sites are mainly near the rivers.

Many industrialized areas do not have sufficient technical resources to dispose of those harmful waste partially or totally.  These harmful partially treated or untreated wastes mix with underground water or sewage water and fall into the nearby river.

Chemicals and other Industrial waste released into the water of sea and river cause a lot of trouble to those marine lives who use these water resources like food or drinking water.

Furthermore, the toxins of contaminated sewage water hurt marine ecosystem directly and is a source of sickness who consume these marine animals, depending on the toxins.

Because wastewater contains nitrates and phosphates which are the cause of eutrophication, therefore it can kill existing life in the water. When water gets contaminated due to these harmful toxic chemicals, its chemical composition changes.

As a result, it becomes harmful to the users and serious diseases like dysentery, leptospirosis, cholera etc. may spread from the use of this polluted water.

Plastic waste:

pollution from plastic waste

Source Google Image

In the first place, pollution caused by plastic can harm land, waterways and oceans and in all over India, around 9 million metric tons of plastic waste falls into the ocean water every year from areas near the water bodies.

Moreover, massive consumption of plastic items and the chemicals from plastics harm the Marine animals. Pollution from plastic can also hurt human hormonal mechanisms.

Social and religious practices:

Religious ceremonies like the immersion of statues of idols (mainly god), throwing flowers, pots and ashes etc. in the river cause serious pollution of river water.

In fact, the materials necessary to make these idols are not ecologically friendly. So they pollute the river water and it, in turn, harms the flora and fauna.

In Hindu custom, it is obligatory to immolate the dead body and scatter the ashes in a river.

Hindus believe the dead will not attain redemption if the last remains are not immersed in rivers like Ganga Yamuna etc.

OIL leaks from ships:

OIL leaks from ships and oil spill from tankers are a serious problem. It harms the local marine wildlife like fishes, birds, sea otters etc. As oil does not dissolve in water, so it forms a thick layer over the water surface.

Consequently, this chokes fish and stop the marine birds from flying as their feathers stuck in the oil and cause problem. Besides, it blocks light for the aquatic plants which are essential for their existence.


Two main factors influence denitrification:

First, the oxygen supply in the soil.

Second, the soil microorganisms.

However, denitrification has a negative effect as it takes place where soils are waterlogged. As nitrate can travel easily with water, so it may move below the roots of plants through groundwater.

The main concerns are less than one-year-old infants and for young or pregnant animals. High levels of nitrates can easily be harmful to new-borns and Nitrate toxin may cause internal suffocation.

Acid rain:

Effects of acid rain are very much evident in aquatic environments like streams and lakes etc. It can harm the fish and other wild lives also.

The water of acid rain not only passes through the soil but also causes to leak aluminium from the clay elements of the soil. This contaminated soil and water when mixing with the rivers and seas and other water bodies pollute it. Trees and living beings who are using this polluted water are harming themselves.

Most importantly, some acidic lakes have no fish. Acid rain can also change the composition of soil and bodies of water, making them run down for local animals and plants.

The solution for water pollution in India:

solution of River Pollution

Source Google Image

Following are some ways in which we can address the problem adequately.

1)The major solution in this context is by controlling sewage discharge.

2)Another solution is soil conservation. Actually, erosion of soil pollutes the water. To control it,  we need to plant more and more trees. It requires, the introduction of suitable farming methods so that the soil may not pollute.

3)Thirdly the requirement is to withdraw chemical fertilizers in farming and encourage more and more organic farming instead.

4)Suitable and fruitful steps are necessary to dispose of all this toxic waste. Try to use those items that possess more amount of balanced organic compounds. We should take steps to minimise the use of toxic materials. However, if we use this, we must dispose of in the right methods.

5) Leaked oil: The government, must take necessary measures to lessen oil leakage from cars, machines etc and use technology so that it may be either disposed of harmlessly or used in future.

Below are a few ways by which we can solve the problem effectively which is the principal contributors to water pollution

The industrial waste from industries and factories need proper checking before dumping into rivers and ponds.

Local government authorities must restrict waste materials like residual garbage to fall in the water sources without proper filtrations.

Use more biodegradable items. Efforts from all corners are necessary to increase the use of biodegradable items. Emphasis the use of biodegradable plastic and its recycling. The best way is to give up usage of plastic or minimise as much as possible.

Now- a- days shopkeepers charge their customers for plastic bags. Of late, the use of biodegradable materials and reusable items are increasing instead of plastic.

Government has banned commonly used non-biodegradable plastic items, such as bottled water, plastic bags.

We need to take proper steps immediately to control water pollution, in order to keep drinking water resources safe for a long duration. Delay in this regard will be fatal for the human race.

Therefore, it is our duty along with the government to work to save our rivers.

About the author

Banani Chakraborty


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