In the ongoing Covid crisis, accessible green, open spaces are a dream for many city dwellers. And yet, there is burgeoning work on the profound positive impacts of urban green spaces on the physiological and psychological health of city dwellers.
Despite being polluted, dammed, encroached and thwarted, rivers continue to be free and open public places. Today more than ever, rivers, riverbanks, floodplains and bridges are an invaluable resource for any Indian City. This momentous service is ignored in our riverfront development projects, metro and road plans and city development plans which encroach upon rivers.
Green, open riverbanks in India are also pockets where myriad people find their livelihoods. This is true even for a highly polluted and encroached rivers like Mula-Mutha in Pune, which routinely feature in India’s most polluted river lists, which have roads and buildings encroaching in them, nallahs bringing untreated sewage, a metro line running through them and a riverfront development plan which shows no respect either for the river or the people. Salutes to all those who are fighting to stop destruction of the river.
In this photoblog, Abhay Kanvinde looks at the most polluted and populated stretch of Mutha River in Pune and astounds us with the life that abounds here. He has been a silent observer of the people who come by the river and shares their stories with us. These photos urge us to imagine a clean, flowing urban river and green riverbanks where people come together. A wellspring of a new reality?
All photos were taken between March 2020 and July 2020.
All photos by Abhay Kanvinde. Text by Parineeta Dandekar.