On World Environment Day, the story of India's water bodies is anything but positive.
In Nainital, for the first time in 25 years , the city's only source of water, and a major tourist attraction, the Naini Lake, has seen a 40 metre fall in water levels.
For a city that receives 35 mm of rainfall in May, this time there has been none.
But this hasn't stopped authorities in the city from drawing as much as 25 lakh gallons of water from the lake per day to fulfill the water requirements of the city in this peak tourist season.
The saddest story though, is very much in India's capital, Delhi. The Yamuna is almost a dead river now. The government claims that over the last 20 years it has pumped Rs 200 crore into cleaning up the river, but inspite of this huge money, as much as 2,000 million litres of sewage, most of it untreated, goes into the Yamuna from Delhi everyday.
Old timers recall boating at hotspots like the Okhla barrage. Today, all that can be seen is a white frothy layer on the river's waters.
In Mumbai, its the same story with the Mithi river. For years, Mumbaikars have illegally encroached its banks. Plastic waste is also dumped in the river in a big manner. In 2006, during Mumbai's floods, the river burst its banks and choked many parts of the city with all its filth.
But while many would say all is lost for India's water bodies, one man has not given up. In Varanasi, GD Agarwal's many fasts to save the Ganga caused the Prime Minister to act last year, when he called for stringent measures to save the river. In support of Agarwal's fast, three members of the National Ganga River Basin Authority resigned from their posts.
While this may not have helped change the pollution levels in the Ganga in a big way, it has ensured the river, considered one of the holiest in the world, is back on the radar for many people in the country.
Story first published:
June 05, 2012 22:29 IST