Indian basmati rice’s increased production is contributing to the problems of the Yamuna river.
Recently, a high court in India declared the Yamuna river a living entity, bestowing on her the same legal rights as a person. Many shared the news on social media, excited about this seemingly major move towards cleaning up the heavily polluted river, once called “dead” by the United Nations.
But a closer look shows that the development, while a nice gesture, won’t actually achieve much.
“This status was only given by a court in the Northern state of Uttarakhand, where the Yamuna is already pristine enough to drink and there’s not much pollution,” says Krisztina Danka, Ph.D. (Krishna-lila Dasi), director of the upcoming documentary The Stolen River. “The problem is that according to Indian law every state has a right to all its natural resources, including rivers. So this ruling has absolutely no bearing on the other states further down the river – such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh – where most of the pollution is actually taking place. Thus it doesn’t solve the problem!”
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