Deemed to be first of its kind and the largest River March in a metro, conceived to be executed by its concerned citezens, Mumbai is all set to witness, over ten thousand volunteers, from all walks of life to participate in one of the biggest Eco walks, which is scheduled on 6th March, simonteinously from locations adjoin, the four rivers, which over a period of time have becomes hubs of marine pollution, resembling nothing more than glorified gutters.
Rajendra Singh, also known as the waterman of India, the well-known water conservationist from Alwar district, Rajasthan in India, who will be leading the march from Dahisar said that their objective on one hand was to create awareness that health of the rivers is directly responsible for the health of the people who reside here.
“At the same time, we also want to send a message to the Government and scientific community to join hands to rejuvenate the water bodies, which are the lifelines of any civilization. ” said Rajendra singh, recipient of Stockholm Water Prize, an award known as "the Nobel Prize for water", in 2015. Previously, he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2001 for his pioneering work in community-based efforts in water harvesting and water management.
Rajendra Singh added that he had seen and participated in numerous river marches, but what was scheduled in Mumbai, was unique and the largest movement by citezens of any metro in the country, to revive its rivers. Avinash Kubal, Deputy Director of Maharshtra Nature, who is co ordinating the River March and also been holding workshops in the past to spread the message of conserving our natural habitats opined that the beauty of this initiative was the fact was the brain child of common Mumbaikars, who want to live in cleaner environment “ Rotting rivers are breeding grounds for numerous diseases and also emit toxic gases, in to the atmosphere” he said.
Gopal Zaveri, a volunteer who is coordinating for Methi March opined that the city cannot expect any results in River ejunation, till the time the Government gets this clear cut message and acts against those responsible for the pollution. Bajrang Agarwal who along with River Marchers, who regularly meet over the weekends, physically cleaning the Dahisar River and rid it of plastic and other rubbish, alleged that over the last 25 years, ecology and environment of city has been ignored at the hands of concerned development, but all this is bound to change, given the level of awareness, which is spreading within the community and this River March could be just a new beginning for better times to come.
Madhukar KatraGadda, an Ex-Army officer who served in the Army for over 11 years who is heading what he refers to as his regiment said that Ignorance and unethical practices of using the rivers as dumping grounds were responsible for the current state of affairs “ ours is an ongoing battle and we understand that it could be a long drawn battle and the results may not restore all the fresh water rivers to their formal glory- but there would be no laxity in their efforts.
Dahisar River: Rustomjee School Ground, Dahisar West
Poinsur River: Our Lady of Remedy High School, Borivali West
Oshiwara River: City International School. Oshiwara, Near Mega Mall
Mithi River: Bharat Diamond Bourse, BKC
Reporting time: March Stars at 6.30 AM to 7:00 AM
March Ends at 9:00 AM