Thousands take pledge to save rivers

By Our Reporter

 Shillong: Despite the heat and dust, thousands of young people, mainly school and college students attended the ‘Save Umkhrah and Umshyrpi River Campaign’ held at Polo Ground here on Saturday and pledged their commitment to restore, conserve and nurture the two rivers.

The pledge which was read out at the gathering gave a call to all present to commit to to stop and prevent any form of direct or indirect pollution of the Umkhrah and Umshyrpi through indiscriminate disposal of garbage and sewerage into the rivers.

People from different sections of the society including the butcher’s associations, government officials, school and college students, local NGOs, ex-servicemen, women’s organisations besides others turned up at this gathering. All who came displayed placards and banners with read ‘Wahumkhrah needs a facelift, not politics’, ‘Save Wahumkhrah, Save Rivers and Save Life’ besides other interesting quotes.

The gathering which is one of a series of action plans for building up the campaign and public consensus on cleaning the Wah Umkhrah and Umshyrpi is being led by the Save Umkhrah and Umshyrpi Task Force.

Earlier, a marathon was held from Madan Iewrynghep at Laitumkhrah and culminated at Polo Ground.

The run was participated by young students including East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal. To flag off the marathon, the Task Force invited Inspector General of Police (IGP) GHP Raju.

The task force comprising over 20 local NGOs of the state including the KHADC and the Mylliem Syiemship was formed to win the minds and hearts of people in this huge task of reclaiming the city’s rivers which have been allowed to degrade in the last forty years due to human activities.

Various speakers on this day stressed on consciousness and awareness, responsibility and duty towards the river eco-system for Meghalaya and other related topics like more stringent laws against pollution, a sustained campaign and unity of purpose.

The task force members reiterated that the campaign is not a one-day affair but will take a minimum of 10 years and it should be sustainable through human resources and involvement of stakeholders in cleaning the streams.

What made the rally interesting were the self-composed Khasi chants (Phawar) which usually begin and end with a common chorus Hoi-kiw and which were centred around saving the Umkhrah and Umshyrpi streams. Students also recited poems and sang songs in honour of the Umkhrah.

What was most touching was the presence of the differently- abled students from Jyoti Sroat School for the blind and Bethany society who listened intently to all that was being said during the campaign.

The Task Force has teamed up with Red FM to carry out a daily exhortation for people to attend the rally on Saturday. The rally is meant to observe World Earth Day which falls on Sunday (April 22). Red FM also conducted a phone in competition of the Phawar, the results for which were declared on Saturday.

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