All rivers are natural persons and legal persons, said Dr Gopal Krishna of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) while praising the Uttarkhand High Court’s decision recognizing river Ganga as a natural person and legal person. It paves the way for correcting the wrongs done to the rivers. He said that every legal wrong must have a legal remedy the court had remedied the wrong done by the Britishers of never seeing nature as a legal entity. He was addressing the audience at a conclave on “Connecting people to nature: Challenges and Options”.
He referred to the Paris Agreement which refers to “Mother Earth” drawing on lessons from Bolivia which recognized the legal right of nature. He said, nature and climate don't respect western notion of national borders, This notion is contrary to the Upanishadic lessons about nature.
He said, Himalaya is in danger. But can it be saved by ignoring the Chinese Himalayan region and saving only the Indian Himalayan region. Can Ganga be saved only be looking at 79 % of Ganga basin which in India? Can we afford to ignore 21 % of Ganga which is in Nepal and Bangaldesh. He urged all the nations involved to rise above the border disputes and save the nature. He opined that ancient beliefs and traditions should be inculcated in the present system where every river is seen as a natural person.
He said that nature should be viewed as the principle amount which is fast receding while people are busy reaping profits from it. He pointed to the fact that the export share of India in the world trade was 25 per cent when the nature was not exploited whereas at present it is only 1-1.5 per cent.
He warned that no mission will be successful if there is an effort made to compartmentalise it. Giving an example, he said as long as the use of solar energy and thermal energy are alternated, India’s energy crisis can never be solved. In his concluding remarks, he urged the scientists and environmentalists to take advantage of India’s vast coastline and bring innovative mechanisms where sea water can be used for drinking and irrigation purposes as it will solve the world’s biggest problem.
P P Chaudhary, Union Minister for Law and Justice, Electronics and Information Technology said, “Indian environment is in a very sad state.” Drawing on the ancient texts and also from the Directive Principles, he brought to light the fact that India has always given importance to environment and the current government is firmly focused on implementing the Prime Minister’s vision for clean energy. As a result of this, the government has been extensively promoting the use of solar and wind energy.
“In any developing country, energy is very important. India has been reducing its fossil fuel consumption through policy decisions like National Smart Grid. The focus on smart cities will give an impetus to clean energy. The government also comes out with policies on solid waste management from time to time. The difference of all these initiatives will be seen in the coming years,” he said.