The Rispana River has always played a vital part while boasting about the Heritage of Dehradun. The present plight of Rispana is atleast what none of us our alien to. Though being a seasonal river in the early 1970’s, Rispana was home to small fishes and small children who used to play with its fresh waters on its banks. These river banks acted like the valves of disperse rainwater of the region during the times of heavy rain, but now they have turned more into a dump yard of both solid and liquid wastes even after being of much importance to the town. At present Rispana River is in an absolutely unfavourable situation. Below is a highlight of its current state.
1.Present Condition of the Rispana River
The health of the river has significantly dropped in the past years. Not just garbage from households but unimaginable amount of metallic waste is also encroached all over the banks of the river. A survey done by student led activist group MAD (Making a Difference by Being a Difference) on the banks of Rispana River in a 40 km long trek stated that the levels of anions and cations and other toxic metals have increased in the river due to more than 15000 encroachments which are deeply embedded in the riverbeds of Rispana, also a number of vehicles and trucks are being parked on these riverbeds making them more fragile.
The slums are unauthorised colonies which are increasing and producing effluents and other pollutants in the river and the government is legitimising some of them instead of taking action against it. Dairy waste is also dumped in the river by the dairy owners which makes the river uglier. All these factors are some amongst the many causes which have led the Rispana River bleed badly.
2. Factors that led to a Disturbed Rispana River
The inadequate waste management system in the town is one amongst the primary causes of the over-polluted Rispana River. Inadequate disposal of waste by the government officials themselves and the locals who reside near Rispana without giving a second thought to the aftermath of making the riverbed a dump yard, is horrifying.
Many travelling companies also have their jeeps and trucks parked on the river beds beneath the Rispana Bridge are making them weaker with every passing day.The increasing slums in Dehradun are also contributing towards the eradication of the river. Unplanned urbanization and lack of education and awareness amongst the citizens about environment degradation has also led to a turmoil in the water bodies in Dehradun.
3. Aftermath of the Declining Rispana River
It may be a seasonal river but the Rispana River serves as a valve to disperse rainwater during the rainy season, it is one amongst the only outlets for rainwater in the town and also is a part of the Ganga Basin therefore needs to be protected in every way. Rispana plays a vital part when it comes to saving the city from getting engulfed with rainwater.
Such extreme levels of filth is not only hazardous to the environment but it can also cost the slum dwellers their lives. The garbage dumped before these slums even over them, the encroachments on the river beds with high amounts of toxins can cause a threat to the lives of these people.
4. Government’s contribution in Saving the Rispana River
If actions would have been taken in the past, to stop Rispana overflowing with garbage, a miserable plight of the river wouldn’t have happened at the first place. The Government has been quiet inactive while the Rispana was been stripped off of its clear gushing waters. Filling Vote banks by issuing ration cards to the slum dwellers and giving authorisation to the unauthorised slum development is all political shit that has made the River bleed unimaginably. Because it got too chaotic, the government has now taken some steps such as the launching of the Kill Waste Device which is a fuel free solid waste disposer, which is eco-friendly and cost effective. A mobile application aimed to ‘Revive Rispana’ the application can be downloaded on Google Playstore. The Government also introduces a 30 km long Riverfront Development Program for the betterment of the Rispana and the Bindal River.
The project consists of connecting the two rivulets flowing through Dehradun with a single bridge, rejuvenation of both rivulets and rehabilitation of slum-dwellers. The project aims at achieving modern, pre-fabricated engineering works, green spaces and commercial sites that would help the MDDA to gather revenue. Mere beautification will not lead to the rejuvenation of the river system and therefore strict and urgent actions are required on the behalf of the Government.
5. Be the Change to See the Change
Be the change and make a difference by being the difference just like many social activist groups. The Government will do its work and implement its policies when it has to but until then we as the indigenous people of Dehradun can take initiative to join hands together with social activist groups like MAD.
We can stand together and educate the slum dwellers most importantly on the importance of living in a breathable and intoxicated environment. If change is not made there will be a complete extinction of one the most important water bodies of Dehradun which will surely make the city ugly but also have severe repercussions on the environment which will lead to a catastrophic situation.