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Odisha Children demand Safe Water Bodies as Childhood Right


Monday June 09, 2014

Mahanadi, Odisha, Safe Water Bodies, Pollution, WIO  

"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."


HNF Correspondent


When rivers and water bodies are getting polluted because of industrial wastes and human abuses, hundreds of children and concerned citizens came together on the bank of River Mahanadi at Sambalpur in Odisha and formed human chain to put forth their demand for safe and clean water bodies. About 300 children and 150 concerned citizens joined the event to launch the campaign ‘Clean water Bodies are Children’s Right’ on November 14, the Children’s Day.

Initiated by leading water advocacy network of the country ‘Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO)’, the unique and arguably India’s first of its kind campaign aims to spread awareness about the degradation of water bodies including rivers, ponds and other such surface water sources which are gradually falling prey to excessive pollution load, encroachment by construction activities and indiscriminate expansion of urbanisation in the country. “Water is a right to life and it has a right of its own to exist.


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 River Mahanadi.”

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”.


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