Activist decries violation of Rio Declaration and Cartagena Protocol
Puja Bhattacharjee | March 9, 2016 | New Delhi
Noted environmental activist Bharati Chaturvedi has said that she considers the construction activities in preparation for the world culture festival in the Yamuna river plains, an act of violence against the river. "River beds, forests etc. are not private property. They are governed by the law of commons under the Rio declaration. The government violated the fundamental duty to protect the commons by leasing it for a private event,” she says. The Art of Living (AoL) foundation is holding its three-day World Culture Festival from March 11 to 13 on the flood plains of the Yamuna.
“Even if the government was naïve enough to grant permission, the AoL foundation with its enormous green credentials should have shown some moral fibre,” she adds.
“How can such an evolved bunch of people (AoL) not show any moral responsibility?” she says.
Bharti rues that most people do not understand the concept of ecology. “For most of us, ecology is a dense forest. There are various kinds of ecology- riverine, wetlands, floodplains etc.,” she says.
She points out that the Okhla bird sanctuary is very close by and some bird species like yellow bellied prinia, striated babbler, and brown crake are unique to Yamuna flood plains ecology. She says that this is the season of reverse migration of birds and the flood plains where the construction activity for the world culture festival is ongoing lies in the migration path of the birds. “The construction activity has destroyed the habitat and food chain of birds,” she says.
When the flood water in Yamuna receeds, it deposits rich alluvial soil on its banks which aids in farming. Once the plains are levelled, the earth loses all its porous quality which absorbs excess water. Activists allege that trees have also been uprooted, which Chaturvedi says has destroyed the carbon sink.
“We live in an era of climate change where freak events like cloud burst or heavy downpour lead to massive disasters. East Delhi is densely populated and more prone to such disasters. Moreover majority of marginalised and economically weaker sections reside in this part,” she says. “Chennai was proof that if you mess with the environment, you will be punished,” she adds.
On March 3, Sri Sri Ravishankar had tweeted, "Villagers have said that buffaloes who never ventured near the water are now entering the water. Even the buffaloes recognize!"
Villagers have said that buffaloes who never ventured near the water are now entering the water. Even the buffaloes recognize! (5)— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) March 3, 2016
“Buffalo drinking water is not a sign of purity of the river. Every year many buffalos die after drinking polluted waters,” she says.
Sri Sri had also tweeted about enzymes prepared by volunteers to clean the polluted river.
"Thanks to the efforts of over 100,000 Delhi households who for three months prepared enzymes to clean nallahs, methane emission has reduced."
Thanks to the efforts of over 100,000 Delhi households who for 3 months prepared enzymes to clean nallahs, methane emission has reduced.(4)— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) March 3, 2016
“Nobody has the right to put enzymes into the river. Cartagena agreement clearly says that alien species if introduced takes over and destroys the indigenous species. Moreover some ecology produces methane by natural processes,” she says.
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