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Death of Ichhamati River: a slow decline of a Bengal's cultural icon

Ichhamati River has immense cultural and ecological significance, being the subject of many poems and songs.

By Apoorva
New Update
Death of Ichhamati River

Ichhamati River is a transboundary river that flows through West Bengal, India, and Bangladesh. The river has immense cultural and ecological significance, being the subject of many poems and songs. However, in recent years, the river has been facing severe pollution and degradation. The degradation threatens the livelihoods of the people living along its banks. This article delves into the causes and consequences of the decline of the Ichhamati River. The river also serves as a source of irrigation for the farmers living along its banks.

Causes of Pollution

The pollution of the Ichhamati River is primarily due to human activities. The following are some of the major causes of pollution:

publive-image
Source: ResearchGate

  1. Industrial Pollution: Industries located along the banks of the river discharge untreated effluents into the river, leading to water pollution.
  2. Agricultural Pollution: The use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture leads to the runoff of these chemicals into the river, causing water pollution.
  3. Domestic Waste: The disposal of domestic waste into the river by the local population is also a major cause of pollution.
Northern Jetty - River Ichamati - Taki - North 24 Parganas
Northern Jetty - River Ichamati - Taki - North 24 Parganas | Photo: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons

Consequences of Pollution

The pollution of the Ichhamati River has severe consequences for both the environment and the people living along its banks. The following are some of the major consequences:

  1. Health Hazards: The polluted water of the Ichhamati River poses a serious health hazard to the people living along its banks, leading to water-borne diseases like diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid.
  2. Decline in Agriculture: The pollution of the river affects the quality of water used for irrigation, leading to a decline in agricultural productivity.
  3. Loss of Biodiversity: The pollution of the river has severe consequences for aquatic life, leading to a decline in fish populations.
  4. Loss of Culture: Ichhamati River has immense cultural significance, being the subject of many poems and songs. The pollution of the river threatens to erode this cultural heritage.
At the river Ichamati the border of India and Bangladesh where the devotees from both the side meeting to celebrate the immersion of the idol Goddess Durga
At the river Ichamati the border of India and Bangladesh where the devotees from both side meet to celebrate the immersion of the idol Goddess Durga | Photo: Flickr

Efforts to Restore the River

Efforts are being made to restore the Ichhamati River to its former glory. The following are some of the major efforts:

  1. Community Participation: Community participation is key to the restoration of the river, with local communities taking up initiatives to clean up the river and prevent pollution.
  2. Government Initiatives: The government has taken up initiatives to prevent pollution and restore the river. These include setting up sewage treatment plants and imposing fines on industries polluting the river.
  3. International Support: International organizations are also supporting efforts to restore the river, providing funding and technical assistance for the implementation of restoration projects.

Conclusion

Ichhamati River is not just a river, but a cultural icon that symbolizes the rich cultural heritage of the region. The pollution of the river threatens not only the environment. But, also the livelihoods and cultural heritage of the people living along its banks. There is a need for urgent action to prevent pollution and restore the river to its former glory. Community participation, government initiatives, and international support can all play a vital role in restoring the Ichhamati River.

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