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Bahuguna calls for movement to save rivers

Staff Correspondent

`We cannot depend on governments to stop pollution'

Madikeri: Rivers are polluted because of man's greed for exploiting natural resources, environmentalist and founder of the Chipko Movement Sundarlal Bahuguna said here on Friday.

Addressing a seminar on "Parisara Samrakshane'' (conservation of nature), organised by the Cauvery Sene and the Kodagu Anekattu Virodhi Samiti, he said most rivers in the country are polluted, and a movement to save them should be launched.

Mr. Bahuguna said it is not possible to depend on governments to stop river pollution. It is important to organise the people to launch a movement against the failure of the system. "We need to rejuvenate the people to save nature,'' he added.

The future of India lies in saving its hills and rivers, he said and added that the Western Ghats should be saved by chalking out a new strategy.

The British exploited forests for timber. Exploitation of nature has continued since Independence. "We have gone too far,'' said.

Mr. Bahuguna urged the people to take up the cause of nature. Forest resources should not be looked at as a commodity, he said. He warned that if conservation methods are not taken up, a water crisis is certain. He suggested afforestation on a large-scale with saplings that take deep roots and grow to form a large canopy for generating oxygen and conserving water.

C.S. Arun Machaiah, MLC, questioned the propriety of the decision to implement 16 mini hydel power projects in Kodagu, all in the Western Ghats. These projects can only generate a total of about 100 MW of power at the cost of conservation of nature. The people of the district should unite to oppose the projects, he added.

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