Guwahati, Nov 7: Sorry state of rivers and wetlands in and around Guwahati city was flagged by distinguished speakers in a consultation organised by Aaranyak here today where state’s minister for urban affairs, housing and irrigation, Ashok Singhal sought cooperation from all stakeholders in the measures taken by the state government to free wetlands of encroachment and reduce pollution level in streams.
Aaranyak today organised the consultation workshop for working out an integrated action plan for rejuvenation and conservation of rivers and water bodies in and around Guwahati to facilitate sustainable urban development.
The Water, Climate and Hazard (WATCH) Division of Aaranyak took the lead in holding the consultation with support from State Innovation and Transformation Ayog (SITA) and in collaboration with Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC).
Lauding the initiative taken by the premier research-based biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org) , Singhal pointed out that haphazard development taking place in the city over the years is the root cause of the problem as practically no stream in the city has been left unpolluted and wetland un-encroached upon.
He said as the government was working towards rejuvenation of all these wetlands, the support from all the stakeholders was expected and assured that in the coming one year 50-60 per cent of the municipal waste will be processed through a project.
Stating that the chief minister, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma is keen for saving the wetlands, the minister said steps had been taken by the government to rejuvenate the Ramsar Site, Deepar beel and Silsako beel in the city in tune with the PM’s directive for protecting water bodies throughout the country. He hoped that the outcome of this workshop would be of much help in restoration and sustainable conservation of water bodies in and around the city.
Addressing the distinguished gathering at the workshop, the vice-chairman of SITA, Ramen Deka said nature and wildlife habitats have been destroyed by human beings and it's their responsibility now to restore and conserve it.
He said Bharalu river had been reduced to a mere polluted drain because of pollution and encroachment induced by people of the city and so is the case with many more wetlands in the city where the problem of flash flood has aggravated every year because of garbage-filled water bodies.
He said the root cause behind the outbreak of many diseases of late was the natural imbalance caused by unwarranted human activities and it was the science and technology that could help in the conservation of these water bodies with support from all stake holders. “For this to happen a strong political will too is required,” he said.