One of the ways in which we can protect river catchment areas is through media campaigns. People tend to be very responsive to information they receive through mass media. People generally tend to trust and respect the media. And anything that gets covered in mainstream media news is bound to grab people’s attention. That is a state of affairs we can take advantage of, to protect river catchment areas.
What we are making reference to here is mainly a question of using the mass media to educate people on the importance (and fragility) of river catchment areas. Through mass media reports, we can get people to understand why river catchment areas need to be protected. Further, through mass media reports, we can get people to understand what exactly they need to do (in practical terms) to protect the river catchment areas. Special emphasis would be on getting people to understand the activities they need to stop undertaking on river catchment areas.
You realize that many people who desecrate river catchment areas do so due to ignorance. So what we would be seeking to do, through the mass media campaigns, is try to eliminate such ignorance. And here we are dealing with ignorance both at the individual level and at the societal level. For once the society gets to know about the importance of river catchment areas (and how such areas can be protected) it would act as a watchdog in the protection of such areas. The society would, for instance, frown on people who carry out the wrong activities on the river catchment areas. We would end up with a situation where carrying out certain activities on the river catchment areas would be viewed as a ‘social taboo’ – something that all members of society try to avoid.
It is upon the agencies and advocacy groups that are charged with the responsibility of protecting river catchment areas to organize the mass media campaigns in question here. This is really just a question of networking with the people who are in charge of the local mass media, and trying to convince them to give some coverage to issues related to the protection of river catchment areas.