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Efforts to save Nambul, Imphal’s dying river

Another serious effort is being made by the people and the government of Manipur to save the Nambul river, which is dying. As the river passes through Imphal city, garbage and effluents from shops, hotels and other commercial establishments are thrown into it. Moreover, settlements along the river dump waste into it round the clock.

On July 2, journalists in Manipur launched an awareness campaign to save the river. Members of the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union and the Editors’ Guild of Manipur took part in the campaign. A. Newmai, State Minister of Forest and Environment, flagged off boats carrying journalists at Thong Nambonbi in Imphal city. Mr. Newmai said, “The old picture of the clean water of the Nambul river can be restored only when people cooperate. There is no shortage of funds. All that is needed is people’s cooperation and awareness.”

Once a waterway

Garbage, including discarded plastic bottles, clog the Nambul, which has only knee-deep water for many months of the year. This was once a river used as a waterway by villagers to transport produce and goods at a time when there were very few passenger buses. The Nambul’s water was also a source of freshwater for drinking and for domestic needs in the past.

Chief Minister N. Biren had announced that the State government had allocated ₹80 crore for rejuvenating the Nambul. In the past, then Congress Chief Minister O. Ibobi had also said that funds had been set aside to clean up and beautify the Nambul and turn it into a tourist attraction.

T. Brajakumar, Director, State Directorate of Environment said, “The Imphal Municipal Corporation faces problems since most of the families [living along the river] do not want to pay money for carting away their domestic refuse. Most of the families dump the same on the river’s banks. The river water remains stagnant for months together.”

Loudspeaker appeal

During the boat journey over 26.49 km and five hours, journalists used loudspeakers to appeal to people living in the settlements and villages along the river to not throw trash on its banks. But many said there was no viable alternative available to them.

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