The Annual Migration of our Sins.
Article and Photo By Uday Krishna Peddireddi
26th August 2018… she flows quietly.. as if nothing had happened… as if she was as clean as she appears to be.. as if she hasn’t been abused.. as if she is not aware of the Sins she carries year long before the Monsoons help clean up in what can be termed as an Annual Migration of our Sins… this is Painganga.. but in reality she is another Ganga in pain… A short story of Painganga river on the border of Telangana/Maharashtra/Chatisgarh/Andhra Pradesh..
Running through 6 districts of Maharashtra… dividing the Maratha Region with the Vidharba region she shares the border with Maharashtra and Telangana later with Telangana and Chattisgarh then flows through Telangana and then Andhra Pradesh as Godavari River before flowing into the Bay of Bengal at Antervedi AP and Yanam UT.
A peaceful sunrise as I stopped by a small bridge along a small tributary to the Paingang, noticed a sight which made me stop and enquire…. It was a perfect morning and I stopped by stunned with trees lined up with trash all along the banks of the rivulet.. the hundreds of plastic covers, clothes etc., stuck on the trees about 15 feet above the current water level… seemed unrealistic. August 16th when I did cross the border I saw the Painganga in spate.. unbelievable sight as just 24hrr ago the sands on the river bed were visible and now the water was flowing up to pillars of the bridge.. recollecting that evening water levels, I could imagine the scene along this rivulet.. the water flowed 15 to 20 feet above the current levels.. I took a few quick pictures and decided to do this story… The Annual Migration of our Sins… yes Migration.
Just as I got back into my car a villager stops on the little bridge and first prays to the Sun and then picks out a bag of trash and promptly empties it into the river.. all in a split second.. even before I could yell out… He was form the nearby Village and like the rest of them dumps the trash into the rivulet.. empty or full.. and seemed surprised on my objections. Not to let go easily I decided to talk to him.. using google I showed him pictures of plastic floating in the ocean.. thousands of tons spread out into huge islands.. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.. and told him this is where his trash is headed… he obviously thought I was joking.. it’s a small bag of trash shouldn’t harm that much was his point… I realized this was going to be a long story but had to be told… so I sat down with him trying to avoid direct sight of dozens of villagers sitting along the banks relieving themselves…
I pointed my fingers at the people relieving themselves on the banks of the river and said his bag of trash was far worse than what those people were doing. Took out Google Maps and showed his from where the river began its journey.. Ajanta District further up north. By then a crowd had gathered… they seemed to be more interested in my mobile phone than the story… I showed them how the river flowed form Ajanta to Yanam/Antervedi before entering the Bay of Bengal.. on the way getting renamed as the Godavari River and flowing through temple towns, villages, towns etc… and asked them how many people could be throwing their trash into the river… the silence that followed was the answer.
Village after village, town after town, industry after industry dump their waste into the same river and all of this gets washed away during monsoons and ends up in the ocean where it destroys marine life before getting concentrate by the Ocean underwater currents to a spot like the Pacific Garbage Patch… and where can it go from there? Nowhere.
Flowing through hundreds of Villages, Temples, Towns where homes, hotels, industries, temples etc dump every possible waste into the river. From little plastic bags to clothes, mattresses, chemicals, sewerage, even dead bodies.. you name it… everything is promptly dumped into the faithful river, the same river which one uses to bathe cattle, bathe themselves, to offer prayers, everything and everybody along the river is dependent on it in one way or the other and ends up dumping everything unwanted into it. This is the sin of our race.. and this has been in practice since the time mankind started settling along rivers. We have been sinning since then… initially, our sins were biodegradable but not anymore. Today we dump tons of garbage which is not fully biodegradable. This garbage flows along the river and some of it gets stuck along the course… but every year come monsoon… the rivers swell. The water flow increases cleaning up all our sins and dumping the same into the oceans… it’s the Masai Mara time for our trash… where it is washed away. leaving clean river banks for us… to continue doing what we have been for centuries. When will we stop this:- The annual migration of our Sins?