Ganga, Yamuna are living creatures, says court

Although one of the India’s most worshipped rivers, the Ganga is also one of the most polluted.

The Ganga and Yamuna Rivers are living entities (beings) declared the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday. This is the first time that a non-human has been given this tag in India. Even animals are not recognized as living creatures according to Indian law.

By recognizing the rivers as living creatures, the Court has given the rivers some powers to stop the damage caused to them by humans. Dumping of pollution and construction of dams that block their flow are just some of the things that have been done to these rivers.

Lawyers who fight environment related cases in courts say that the Uttarakhand High Court’s view could be used to fight against the construction of dams across the rivers as dams disturb the flow of the river. It would also make it difficult to disturb the river through construction projects along its banks.

The decision of the Court comes soon after New Zealand gave a living status to the Whanganui, its third largest river.