Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

India Grants 'Living Status' & 'Legal Rights' To Himalayan Entities

Apr 03, 2017 05:04 AM EDT

The confluence of the Indus river (L) and the Zanskar river (R) at Sangam on October 4, 2012 near to Leh in Ladakh, India. Ladakh.
(Photo : Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Weeks after the two most revered rivers of the land, the Ganga and the Yamuna, were presented with the status of "living entities", the Uttarakhand High Court granted the Himalayan "Gangotri" and "Yamunotri" glaciers with similar titles. The recognition has been cordially welcomed by various environmental organizations, who feel that this effort might be a big boost in curbing glacial pollution.

According to ABS-CBN News, this historic decision enables the rights of the Himalayan glaciers to be equivalent to that of the living entities, and any kind of harm caused to them will be considered as the harm done to the human beings. Reportedly, the Yamunotri glacier that feeds the river Yamuna has been shrinking down alarmingly, leaving its very existence in a very vulnerable condition. The fights for environmental protection in the higher altitudes will gain a lot of strength after this decision, opine the environmentalists.    

Prior to the Himalayan glacier verdict, the Uttarakhand High Court on March 20, also granted the two rivers, Ganga and Yamuna, the status of living human beings. Both the rivers are considered sacred by the Hindu population of India and act as a lifeline of the country. In recent times, these rivers have been facing threats to lose their very existence due to environmental pollution.

According to Hindustan Times, the court order also declared that not only the two Himalayan glaciers but all the water bodies and adjacent jungles and forests are also granted the same legal status to protect them from further destruction. The judges said that they are much concerned about the fact that the ongoing deterioration of natural assets due to the ill effects of pollution, climate change and global warming, which has compelled them to take the decision for saving the glaciers.

As per the environmentalists, the situation of the rivers and water bodies in India are pathetic. They are continuously getting polluted due to the insertion of sewage, pesticides and industrial chemicals. Even the Himalayan region which is revered traditionally in a very bad state. Despite a number of laws being imposed, there have been very few following of the rules prescribed, which has led to a highly precarious situation for the natural assets of the country.

The Himalayan entities related court orders follow in just days after the Whanganui River in New Zealand was declared to be a living entity. It became the first river in the process to be awarded the rights. The Whanganui River is revered by the native Maori people of New Zealand.  

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