Blind dolphins in Ganga waterway

National waterways, starting with the Ganga, are being pushed as eco-friendly transport; nobody seems to have thought about the effect on the endangered Gangetic River Dolphin or the other life in the river. In March 2016, India passed the National Waterways Act, which marks 106 rivers to be engineered into cargo-carrying waterways. The rationale is that shipping is “greener” than road traffic. But, says Nachiket Kelkar of the Ashoka Trust for Research on Ecology and the Environment, “There has unfortunately been barely any debate on the ecological and social risks the NWA poses to river biodiversity and to the communities that depend on the river.” The importance of riverine ecology, and of livelihoods needs, seems to be absent from the radar of not just the administrative and political circles, but also among prominent environmental and scientific groups. 

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