The Gautam Budh Nagar district administration has decided to begin a campaign that will involve youth to protect the Yamuna floodplains and keep the river clean.
Under the campaign -- Youth for Yamuna -- the administration will connect with youngsters who want to work for the Save Yamuna campaign.
The objective of the campaign is to ensure public participation in protecting the Yamuna. With the help of the campaign, the administration hopes to contain dumping of waste and construction material in the river. It will also appeal to farmers to reduce and discourage the use of pesticides in agricultural activities on the floodplains.
Around 5,000 acres of floodplains are located in the district.
“All authorities have their duties towards protecting the Yamuna. But, if the general public join hands with officials, the job becomes easier. We decided to seek help from youngsters because they have helped the administration in saving the floodplains in the past,” NP Singh, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar, said.
The initiative involves holding awareness camps in around 30 villages located along 40 km of Yamuna embankment. Teams of officials will engage with the public, particularly youngsters, in camps to be organised in villages. They will be sharing tips on how they can help in protecting the river.
“After joining as district magistrate in February 2015, I had requested villagers to help in stopping sand mining in the Yamuna floodplains. I had also organised meetings in villages telling them to help us. Many young boys started helping in arresting those who were illegally mining sand in Yamuna. Similarly, I believe youngsters will join the campaign to save the Yamuna,” Singh said.
The administration said youngsters helped them in fighting sand mafia as they provided information about people involved in the act.
“Many a time, young boys called me late at night or sent text messages about the spots where mining was happening. Our team acted swiftly, stopped the mining and sent the culprits to jail. We expect the same cooperation,” Singh said.
On November 2, 2015 the National Green Tribunal had imposed a ban on sand mining on the Yamuna floodplains that falls in Haryana’s Faridabad and Uttar Pradesh’s Noida jurisdiction. The Gautam Budh Nagar district administration in October damaged an illegal bridge built by Faridabad-based sand mafia across Yamuna to traffic sand between Noida and Faridabad.
Officials said involvement of the general public in saving the Yamuna is crucial.
“If the administration works seriously on this campaign of connecting youth with saving the Yamuna, we welcome it. We will support the move because the government alone cannot do it. With public participation, we can stop dumping of construction waste in the Yamuna floodplains. I think the administration should be very strict with those found mining sand illegally on Yamuna floodplain,” Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist said.