A court in India has declared the River Ganges ‘a person’

It seems a bit odd to legally declare that a river is actually a person, but that is what a court in India has done in an effort to save India’s holiest river from pollution. The River Ganges is a lifeline to over 500 million people in India so making sure it isn’t ruined by pollution is vital. The court started by declaring the Ganges a legal person, and then it gave the same designation to a glacier at the river’s source as well as everything in its drainage basin: rivers, streams, rivulets, lakes, air, meadows, dales, jungles, forests wetlands, grasslands, springs and waterfalls.

One reason for saying that nature is a legal person is so that it won’t be necessary to prove in court that polluting the Ganges actually harms humans. Contamination on its own could be enough to make the case that it violates the river’s “right to life“.

The River Ganges is an important pilgrimage destination with the festival of Kumbh Mela taking place at different spots along the river. It is useful to know about pilgrimages at the River Ganges (read this: Hinduism6-Pilgrimage-etc) at both Key Stage 3 RS and for the GCSE.

river ganges

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