Working towards the cause of making Ludhiana "eco-friendly", the district administration has taken the initiative to bring together various non-government organisations (NGOs) on a common platform.
More than 25 NGOs working in diverse fields such as cleaning of river waters, creating awareness against hazards of plastic, wellness of cancer patients, sensitising people against pollution and rehabilitation of children with developmental disabilities shared their views at a recent meeting convened by additional deputy commissioner (development) Dr Rishipal Singh.
Carrying forward the message to extend help to each other and collectively work for all causes, some NGOs have taken a pledge on the eve of Diwali to work with diligence towards "cleaner, greener and safe environment" in the district at large.
If air and noise pollution is a problem in the urban environs, the rural populace is facing the problem of soil and water pollution, observed Dr Davinder Sandhu, noted oncologist from the city.
"It is a very positive step to identify the problematic areas, plan a strategy and execute it with precision. The NGOs working for the environment should focus on industrial waste being thrown in Buddha Nullah and other drains which in turn pollute the ground water thereby poisoning the vegetable/fruit produce that causes cancer," Dr Sandhu added.
Pledge taken by various NGOs
Jago: Working in the area of health and education to the poor and weaker sections of society. The association is now working towards creating awareness against hazards of plastic.
Key person behind the NGO Neelam Kapoor Dhanda said there was no implementation of The Punjab Plastic Bags (Manufacture, Usage and Disposal) Control Act and the NGO now plans to take up the cause. "We have taken a pledge to work towards the implementation of the act and we will also educate urban and rural populace against the hazards of using plastic," Dhanda added.
Aagaz Charitable Foundation: Working for the uplift of rural women through skill development (phulkari embroidery/ eco-friendly paper bags)
Manmeet Grewal and Preeti Kansal started the NGO in 2004 and have come a long way in providing self- employment to the women in Aihtiyana and Sadarpura villages. " It took us years to train women/girls in embroidery. Having accomplished the task, we are now taking a stride towards creating eco-friendly clusters. A number of women have been trained to make paper bags, paper envelopes, file covers and book marks," the duo added.
Promoting the cause of "clean environment", the NGO has taken the oath on Diwali to rope in more women in the venture of handmade paper products which Preeti Kansal says will act as an awakening for people attached to them.
RBS Roots: Creating awareness about river (water) pollution -"Panjpani, Save River Satluj".
Amandeep Bains has waged a war against the forces involved in polluting the waters of Sidhwan Canal and Sutlej river. In addition to doing a survey on the presence of arsenic in water, Amandeep with his other NGO members is creating awareness among school and college students.
"I have involved youth in various activities such as cleansing of water and plantation on the banks of river. But now I will make documentaries with the help of students and organise a film festival to convey the message of severity of problem," Bains said.
Aashirwad: Rehabilitation of children with developmental disabilities. Early identification, early intervention and rehabilitation. Awareness raising and sensitisation in society.
Having worked towards rehabilitation of the children with developmental disabilities Dr Neelam Sodhi, director of Aashirwad, has taken a step forward by sensitising mainstream society through these differently abled children.
"I am taking Diwali as a new beginning for Aashirwad, as we plan to combine the activities of the organisation with the promotion of clean environs," Sodhi added.
Correlation between plastic and cancer
The polyethylene contained in plastic articles, including shopping bags, disposable bottles and glasses, chewing gum and toys, is believed to be carcinogenic (cancer causing). Some plastic water bottles contain bisphenol A, a compound that impairs the immune system, leads to early puberty and trigger development of obesity and diabetes, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a form of plastic used in packaging, containers, utility items and cosmetics, has been linked to the onset of cancer and birth and genetic conditions, observed.
Govt doing little to curb pollution
The government is doing little to curb pollution despite the fact that Ludhiana was declared the fourth most polluted city of the world by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in September 2011. The study conducted pointed towards maximum particulate pollution in the air. Emissions from industries, outdated autorickshaws/ vans, construction of roads/ flyovers, stubble burning in fields, generators are major contributors to air pollutions.