Unless we protect our surface water bodies from decaying and dying, we will fail
in our duties in many ways including that of providing a healthy childhood to
all our children”, said Ranjan Panda, Convenor of WIO who is leading this
campaign, adding that “many of the rivers and water bodies have become so
polluted and contaminated that they have become unfit even for animal bathing”.
“Especially in the urban areas, the
children – more so poor children living in slums and other such
habitations – are being deprived of playing in safe water bodies which
is very much essential for a healthy and happy childhood to grow”, said
Panda urging upon all to join the campaign that primarily intends to
spread awareness among the policy makers and the common people on the
importance of clean surface water bodies for growth of the children.
In fact, swimming and diving used to be
some of the childhood fun Indian children were privileged to have
because of plenty of water bodies with safe and clean water.
Unrestricted urbanisation, industrialisation, commercial exploitation of
water and release of wastes into water bodies have now left most of the
ponds and rivers polluted and contaminated.
Expressing that the effort has received
support and good wishes from many groups across the state and the
country and many civil society groups who are also interested to take up
similar campaign, Ranjan Panda said, “This launching is just a symbolic
effort to flag off the issue. We are sure more action by our network as
well as other groups will follow.”
Speaking on the reason of launching the
campaign in Sambalpur, Panda said, “It’s a small city but is one of the
prominent cities on the Bank of river Mahanadi that has now become a
perfect example of heavy pollution and privatization of water resources
restricting access of the common people including farmers, children and
other vulnerable groups. So, we decided to launch it on the banks of
Excited with voluntary participation of
eminent citizens including senior Doctors, Journalists and veteran
Social Workers, Panda further said, “We can call it a grand opening
because here we saw the perfect examples of voluntarism descend on the
bank of River Mahanadi”.