Rivers- economic role and pollution

Throughout the history of India, rivers have been of huge importance. Let us uncover what they contribute to the economy.

Economic value of rivers

Ever since ancient times, people have often settled on river banks.

Useful for irrigation and hydro power, rivers fulfill an important role in the economy.

Water is an essential resource. Man cannot live without water. Rivers are the water sources for most of the population.

Water is used for many human activities, such as bathing, drinking, washing clothes, etc.

This is why river banks attract settlements, which eventually evolve into big cities. For example: Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi.

In India, where agriculture is still the major economic activity, rivers provide immense value. The success of agriculture is totally based on irrigation.

Rivers are the most important source of water for irrigation. This is done by using canals and tributaries.

Rivers also aid in the navigation of smaller distances.

The annual flooding of rivers, if away from inhabitation, redeems the soil.

This makes it better for agricultural use, increasing fertility.

Thus, it can be said that the economy of a country depends heavily on its rivers!

Pollution in rivers

River pollution occurs when undesired or harmful substances are discharged into rivers.

More and more water is being drained out of rivers, to satisfy domestic and industrial demands.

In addition, untreated sewage from industries is also being released into rivers, thereby increasing pollution.

This affects both the self-cleansing capacity of rivers and the quality of water.

For example: Yamuna river near Delhi has drastically low oxygen levels that lead to formation of foam.

The Ganga, one of the holy rivers, has also been polluted to a great extent due to human activity.

It is actually capable of diluting pollution loads within 20km of big cities.

But increasing urbanization and pollution stop this from happening.

This also results in a decrease of volume of the river, with excess water being drained out.

Fortunately, humans have begun to realize the importance of rivers, and the need for reducing the pollution of rivers.

Many action plans have been launched by the government in order to clean rivers.

One such plan is the Ganga Action Plan (GAP), launched in 1986.

Therefore, river pollution must be decreased, as rivers are important for India both culturally and economically.


Rivers are important for the nation both culturally and economically.

Water is an essential resource, and rivers are a major source of water.

Rivers also have energy production and transportation capabilities.

Unfortunately, river pollution has been on the rise.

Untreated sewage, increasing domestic usage, and industrial demands lead to the pollution of rivers.

To reduce this, many action plans such as the Ganga Action Plan have been launched- they focus on cleaning rivers.