Rivers have full rights of free flowing like a person

Rivers not only facilitate agriculture but also support economy and income. However, rivers have been marginalized and ignored since the industrial revolution, alike indigenous people in the modern society. Considering this fact, human beings must learn that rivers have a life of their own, have the right to be safe and flow freely. If so, what effects would there be on big dams for hydropower, irrigation projects and sewerage system using the rivers? The role of nature is vital for humanity, economic prosperity, and well-being. Moreover, rivers are important for the safety of nature and its empowerment. Rivers have been feeding humanity since the origin of lives. Kothari, Margil and Bajpai, (2017) wrote that ‘Rivers are the arteries of the earth, lifeline for the humanity and millions of other animals’. Now it is time to explore thoughts on nature’s rights, they should have full rights of free flowing as a person without any distraction or intervention.

How can a river, with no voice of its own, ensure such rights are upheld or ask for compensation if they are violated?

Recently, New Zealand and India have achieved an exemplary legal status to protect the rivers. New Zealand, first, passed the Act by giving the Whanganui River and ecosystem a legal standing in its own right, guaranteeing its ‘health and well-being’. Similarly, a court in India orders that the Ganges and Yamuna rivers and their related ecosystems have ‘the status of a legal person, with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities … in order to preserve and conserve them’. This is a kind of milestone, which is remarkable in preserving the nature.

What next for the country where the potentiality of hydropower is huge such as Nepal, Brazil and so on! And what about the alternative that is going to be used to produce hydropower if the rampant use of the river is not allowed!

‘What does it mean for the river to have the rights of a person? If the most fundamental human right is the right to life, does it mean the river should be able to flow free, unfettered by obstructions such as dams? Does the right extend to all creatures in the river system? How can a river, with no voice of its own, ensure such rights are upheld or ask for compensation if they are violated? Who would receive any compensation? And can such rights undo past wrongs?’

What next for the country where the potentiality of hydropower is huge such as Nepal, Brazil and so on! And what about the alternative that is going to be used to produce hydropower if the rampant use of the river is not allowed!

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2 Comments

  1. It’s really ironic that NZ has finally given Whanganui river personhood status now that the majority of NZ rivers are so contaminated they are a threat to human health. The NZ Green Party is calling for an end to dairy intensification – as it is mainly nitrogen run off from cattle urine that is destroying our rivers.

    Liked by 1 person

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