Great news, rivers recognised as living entities !

In New Zealand and India, 3 rivers has been granted the same legal rights as a human being. These rights can be used to protect the interests of the rivers.

March 15th, the parliament of New Zealand recognised the Whanganui river, the third-longest in the country, as a living entity with the legal status of a person after a 150-year battle by the local Maori people. “The Whanganui River is an indivisible and living whole which includes all its physical and spiritual elements from the mountains of the central North Island to the sea”.

The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same. The bill allow Whanganui River  to represent its own interests and advocate on its own behalf.

Two guardians will be appointed to act on behalf of the Whanganui river, one from the crown and one from the Whanganui iwi (tribe).

“Ko au te awa. Ko te awa ko au”
“I am the river and the river is me”
. Maori proverb.

Whanganui river, known by the Maoris as Te Awa Tupua, © Prankster – Creative Commons

Few days latter New Zealand, India granted the same statut to the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers.  considered sacred and holy by millions of Indians,  these two rivers have been accorded the status of living entities and granting it the same legal rights as a human being, by the Uttarakhand High Court. The new status means if someone pollutes river Ganga, the law will see it equal to harming a human being.

“The Ganga should be saved for the generations to come,” the court added.

Ganga river at Varanasi © Mukul Kumar singh – CC BY-SA 3.0 – Wikimedia Commons


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