Punjab green warrior urges people to fight for environment

June 4th, 2009 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, June 4 (IANS) Noted green warrior Balbir Singh Seechewal Thursday expressed serious concern over the environmental degradation and depleting water table in Punjab and urged the people to join in efforts to improve matters.
Speaking to reporters here on the eve of World Environment Day, Seechewal also criticised the people of the state for being culpable for the environmental degradation. “The people of Punjab are equally responsible for this sorry state of our rivers that were earlier known for their clean flow. They should stand up against the authorities and force the system to change.”

“Nobody is bothered about the mindless disposal of effluents in the rivers of Punjab. Drinking of this polluted water is causing dreaded diseases like cancer and various skin problems. Every day thousands of people are dying in hospitals but nobody is bothered,” Seechewal, who is one of Punjab’s most recognised eco-warriors, said.

“This polluted water further flows in the rivers of the neighbouring state of Rajasthan and causes similar problems there. We have already snatched the right of living from the animals and birds, but let’s not steal this right from mankind.”

Expressing disappointment with the state government, Seechewal said: “Our state government, health department and pollution control board are in deep slumber and they have taken the things for granted.”

Time magazine has named Seechewal, 46, as one of the ‘Heroes of the Environment - 2008′ activists.

He went on a 50-km march in April along the banks of various river and drains in Punjab and Rajasthan to create awareness about water pollution.

Seechewal said that there should be a strict law to punish those guilty of polluting water bodies. “The water table in Punjab has gone down drastically. We only think about extracting maximum water from the earth but do nothing to replenish it,” he pointed out.

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