On the occasion of World Environment Day, HT takes a look at the green heroes who fight relentlessly to protect Mumbai.
Crusader for mangroves
Stalin Dayanand, project director, NGO Vanashakti : Fighting relentlessly to protect wetlands and mangroves, NGO Vanashakti filed a PIL in the Bombay high court following which all reclamation and construction on wetlands were banned. Raising voice against the frequent fires at dumping grounds, Stalin and his team took it upon themselves to change the situation with regards to solid waste management. “We are sure that through are continued efforts, the city will get a better waste management solution,” said Stalin. They have also been crusading against the proposed redevelopment of Aarey Colony.
Green-peace in Mumbai
Sumaira Abdulali, convener, NGO Awaaz: In 1998, Sumaira Abdulali began her environmental endeavours as she cleared encroachments on a public village road by a Mumbai industrialist to help a fishing community. Mumbai was the only Indian city to record a decrease in noise levels during Diwali for the past several years due to increased awareness through Abdulali and her NGO, Awaaz Foundation’s awareness campaigns. She has worked, individually and through her NGO on several environmental issues such as noise pollution, illegal sand mining, mining in bio diverse forests, marine pollution and oil spills, eco-friendly festivals, protection of trees and on civic issues such as laws on tobacco sale to children.
Keeping Chembur clean
Rajkumar Sharma, Chembur resident: In his sixties, Rajkumar Sharma has been instrumental in making the Diamond Garden area in Chembur cleaner. He bears an unwavering diligence to motivate fellow residents to keep the streets clean. Sharma took it upon himself to make waste segregation a habit in his locality and the Diamond Garden Residents Forum, one of the first Advanced Locality Management (ALM) bodies in the city, was formed to streamline their goal. For more than 15 years, around 150 families follow the clockwork-like routine of segregating waste that is composted in the concrete pits. Sharma also co-founded ALMANAC, the first ALM federation in the city comprising of 40 ALM's from Chembur, Govandi and Deonar.
Mission Mithi River
Jagdish Gandhi and Janak Daftari: To restore Mithi River to its glory, social activist Jagdish Gandhi and water conversationalist Janak Daftari surveyed the entire 15-km stretch of the river in 2009. Earlier, Gandhi filed a PIL in Bombay high court on restoring water bodies across the state. The PIL wanted Mithi River to be restored to its original width, removal of encroachments from riverbanks and restored water supply to the mangroves along the estuary. Daftari later became a co-petitioner with Gandhi. Acting on a petition filed by Daftari’s Jalbiradari, the National Green Tribunal directed the Mithi River Development Authority to stop activities around the river until an environment impact assessment is done and vetted by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority.
Recycling’s the key
Monisha Narke of Reduce, Reuse, Recycling: Founded in 2009, non-profit movement Are you Reducing, Reusing, Recycling (RUR) has been spreading awareness and providing eco education on green living to city people through workshops and campaigns. Founded by Monisha Narke, Sejal Kshirsagar and Malvika Gadiyar, RUR has set-up over 10 successful sustainable waste management solutions for schools, housing societies, organisations including composting biodegradable waste and safe recycling of non-degradable waste. Through its flagship programme, Go Green with Tetra Pak Recycling, RUR has collected over 9,00,000 cartons and helped save over 100 trees, donated school desks and recycled garden benches. RUR strives to reduce the load on landfills by converting waste into a resource and promoting safe cycling thereby cutting the carbon/ecological footprint and saving the earth for the future generations.