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Himalayan Glaciers Granted With 'Living Entity' Status to Fight Environmental Damage

Apr 03, 2017 01:22 PM EDT
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An Indian court ordered Himalayan glaciers be awarded living entity status to prevent environmental damage. The decision was made due to the receding size of the glaciers.
(Photo : Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

The changing times are also getting more liberal by the way of protecting the environment. How? Some very rich natural resources are being awarded a "living entity" status in order to protect them from environmental damage.

Recently, the Himalayan Glaciers received such status after an Indian court recognized the rivers, lakes and forest as legal persons. This is in an effort to curb environmental damage and destruction. The decision was made shortly after the Wanganui River was awarded its own legal rights as well.

In the decision, legal right as a living entity was awarded to glaciers Gangotri and Yamunotri. The glaciers feed the Ganga and Yamuna rivers respectively.

"The rights of these entities shall be equivalent to the rights of human beings and any injury or harm caused to these bodies shall be treated as injury or harm caused to human beings," the highest court from Uttarakhand said in its ruling, via Phys Org.

Read Also: India's Ganges and Yamuna Rivers Now Have the Same Legal Rights as a Human Being 

The ruling cited the diminishing size of the Yamunotri glacier. The rate it is shrinking is perceived as alarming, according to experts. The Gangotri glacier is also "receding" very fast based on the ruling's justification.

"In over 25 years, it has retreated more than 850 meters (2,800 feet)," justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh said in a joint ruling.

The decision also includes the legal rights and "living entity" status to the forests, lakes and meadows in the area. The ruling stated that the living entity status should be enforced starting March 20. Every wrongdoing committed will be treated like it was done to a person with corresponding penalties, according to IBTimes.

Although they are pleased with the decision, environmentalists are scared that the decision will remain on paper and might not be properly enforced.

Read Also: Whanganui River in New Zealand First to Receive Same Legal Rights Like a Living Person 

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