Pond rejuvenation — a sustainability game changer
Most of the countries in Asia and Africa had ponds for sustainable water usage in villages. These are fast disappearing and with it, there is an increasing pressure on water resources. But there is a ray of hope…
I grew up drawing beautiful nature. I love drawing and I had several picture books to colour when I was very young. The scenes I liked the most almost always had an azure sky, sun rising behind mountains and a pond with beautiful vegetation around it. Sometimes I also drew birds, rabbits and squirrels in these scenes. I was always fascinated by beautiful ponds specially in the hills and the surrounding ecology.
As I grew up and visited different places including a number of visits to hills, as my grandmother stays there, I was disheartened by the poor state of the ponds. Most of the ponds were covered by weed and had construction material dumped on the edges. I heard my mother telling me at a lot of these places that the pond has shrunk from its original size. All this has been quite discomforting to me and I tried to find more about why the ponds have deteriorated so much.
If a pond is cleaned, it can make water available for drinking or other household chores. As the water level will become better, there will be growth of plants and the area will not only look nice, but will also support more rainfall, as per what I have studied in my science book. Also, these ponds can be used for fish cultivation, which can provide some employment and money to villagers. I have also read that most of these ponds were made by kings in the past to store rainwater, which used to help people living around it during summer months. This could be an excellent way of sustainable life in rural areas but generally ignored.
Is it that, we assume cleaning and maintenance of these ponds to be a responsibility of the governments and not ours. While reading about SDGs in my social studies class and doing PBL around these, I feel that we should drive these initiatives ourselves. I had doubts if people like me, who are young, can contribute at all to various causes of sustainable life. However, watching young activists like Greta Thunberg, I feel young people like me can contribute a lot towards sustainable life.
While thinking of various solutions, I heard about the Pond-Man of India, Ramveer Tanwar, during one of the Man Ki Baat broadcast of our Prime Minister. I have read about his methods and also spoken to him. His work is an example, where the youth are driving a sustainable life in rural areas without waiting for intervention by governments or elders.
If we can get together, we can rejuvenate all the 5500 ponds across India and may be dig even new ponds. This will not only revive the ponds and reduce water problems, but will also educate people on sustainable lifestyle. With the climate change already affecting our lives, we can’t sit back and wait for governments and leaders to take action.