The rivers Ganges and Yamuna in India have been legally granted human rights, becoming the first non-humans in India to have them.
The decision was made by a court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, and is partly religious and part-environmentalist.
Over 1 billion Indians view the Ganges river as sacred, and polluting it will now be legally equal to hurting a human being.
The decision is surprisingly not the first of its kind. Last week, the Whanganui River in New Zealand, was granted this status by the country’s government.
Judges Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh said the Ganges and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries would be “legal and living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities”.
Per the Guardian, “The Yamuna is the main tributary of the Ganges that officials say is tainted with sewage and industrial pollution. In some places, the river has stagnated to the point that it no longer supports life.”