Contaminated River Threatens Farmers’ Livelihoods
The farmers of Karauli district, Rajasthan are distressed. The once clean water of the Bhadravati river which cuts through the district is now foaming with strange and unidentified effluents. The river banks are lined with sewage and chemical flotsam. As the river is the only source of water in the neighboring rural areas the farmers are forced to use it for their fields.The polluted water has made the fields less fertile and has greatly diminished the yields.
IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent and Karauli resident Sunita Kasera is concerned: “Karauli is the biggest city in the district. It is growing fast without the neccessary infrastructure to manage the growing need for sanitation and waste disposal. There is no sewage plant in the whole area and the dirt just gets dumped directly into the river water.”
The farmer she interviewed while making a video on the polluted river told Sunita that because of the dirty water their land now yields just 1 tonne of crop instead of the usual 4 tonnes. The contaminated water has deteriorated the fertile soil and affected the growth of the plants. The farmers report that the vegetables have become suseptible to disease. If they do not get infected with worms, they ripe too fast and rot away even quicker. The farmers fear for their livelihoods, health and income security.
The effects of water pollution on cultivable land and its negative effects especially on local farmers are a known fact in India. All major rivers throughout the country are highly polluted. A majority of the pollution has its source in domestic households.In India, untreated sewage is a prime reason behind major environmental hazards and contagions.
If it has to avoid a terrible fate, Karauli city desperately needs a proper sewage plant as soon as possible. Sunita Kasera feels strongly that the government needs to take on this issue fast to avoid any further damage to the rural population and the environment: “Our district has a wondeful rich landscape, which might be gone soon if we to not take measures today. I think, protecting the land and rivers can only be in the interest of all people to keep everyone in good health and protect our argriculture.”