In India and expectedly in many developing nations, the politicians, policy makers, implementing agencies and people alike are utterly in disregard to turning of life sustaining rivers, canals and lakes into sewage drains. While the policy makers sit at the top and executing everything on paper, the ever short sighted politicians and powerless and corrupt officials are the true menace in preventing waterbodies turning into sewage points.
Consider a typical example that occurs every where in India: All along the banks of rivers, canals and other such huge water bodies, encroachments in the form of hutments are a common sight. Being public land, and knowing well that politicians and local strong men are solidly behind them, few people initiate the encroachment process.
This is the stage when the local officials turn a blind eye to such encroachments and let the process go on till the encroachments gain critical or enormous mass. Then the officials enact the drama of issuing notices to the hutdwellers to vacate immediately or face consequences!the hutdwellers by now a big enough group and too costly to be ignored by the politicians! So the local saviour of encroachments, the politicians swing into action and assure the encroachers that the dwellers have all the rights on the encroached land and blast the officials for harassing poor people! The local MLA and the concerned minister assure that the encroachments will be awarded legally for the benefit of the dwelling poor!
And now the canal and river banks which earlier had huts, slowly get converted to concrete buildings and the sewage and wastes from innumerable dwellings along the banks are let into the easily accessible water body. The legalised encroachers who earlier used to depend on the same water body for their daily water usage, now after destroying the water body and turning it into a drain now cry and make agitations for lack of availability of pure water! And they get tapped water for drinking as well as for all other uses!
Now that all the dwellings receive tapped water, who has the use of water in the river or canal? So the river or canal gets officially declared as a drain!
For thousands of years man has respected the water bodies and used to dwell considerably away from these bodies, even while carrying water for his daily usage. This has changed in the last 100 years with the menace of encroachments resulted by lack of consciousness, corrupt nexus, toothless law and aimless policies!
In India no water body is being spared from such encroachment and pollution and yet every one wants pure water!
Then what is the solution?
The solution lies in converting the banks of already laid canals and existing unencroached water bodies into green belts of specified width say 5 meters. Plan the road towards the outer side of this green belt and beyond the road, let the houseless people be given legal tenure along with piped water supply.