GUWAHATI- People worldwide are being affected by extreme weather conditions due to the human-induced climate change crisis. Anthropogenic disturbances substantially impacts the rivers and its ecology, livelihoods and lives of the local communities who depends on this water source to avail drinking water, irrigation, and other necessary services.
The Northeast India which has vital river ecosystems, is intricately connected to the lives and culture of the local people. However, in today’s time, unsustainable use of our river resources, and pollution is affecting the rivers, and leading to their degradation. This in turn negatively impacts the aquatic biodiversity, and crop cultivation.
As rightly said “Rivers are the arteries of our planet: They are lifelines in the truest sense” by Mark Angelo, we must work towards securing this ecosystems for human well-being and conserving biodiversity.
Across the globe, the World Rivers Day is celebrated every fourth Sunday in September with the goal of spreading awareness and encouraging people to protect and preserve rivers.
In the village of Phumen Engti, Kohora, Karbi Anglong of Assam this year’s World Rivers Day celebration took place on September 25. Langkiri SHG and Phumen Engti Natural Resource Management Committee hosted the event which was supported by region’s leading biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak .
The event was celebrated with the traditional customs of the Karbi community related to rivers and streams. The Karbis believe that nature is God and all rivers, streams, living, non-living ones have souls protected by benevolent and malevolent deities. Every year during the Rongker or Chojun (traditional festivals), the Karbi people offerings are always given to appease them and as a sign of respect and thanksgiving for protecting nature and surroundings. Karbi’s believe the ritual would bring good fortune, good health, and prosperity to the whole village as water is an important component for all life forms.
Three waterways running through the Phumen Engti village of Kohoraso, Kohorapi, and Langkiri were honoured in a prayer ceremony performed by local priests Mr Prem Terang and Mr Handeswar Engti.
Mr Dhoniram Rongphar expressed his thoughts about the World River Day Celebration saying “ We hope that people come out to celebrate and honour the rivers on this day. We use water from these rivers for our daily use. If we can celebrate this day every year this will increase the importance of protecting and saving our rivers.”
This event was made possible by members of the Aaranyak team of Randeep Chetia, Bhargavee Rava, and Avinash Phangcho coordinating with the Langkiri SHG’s members, Mr Dhoniram Rongphar, and Mr Sanjit Bey.
Aaranyak has been working with a community-based Natural Resource Management programme in Karbi Anglong district with an aim to safeguard biodiversity and human well-being.