Generations at work: Their love for environment knows no age
Whether they’re in their teens, in late 20s, or early 40s – age is no bar or barrier for these eco-warriors, who aim to leave behind a better planet for future generations! Driven by the thought to save the planet, even amid all odds, are a few denizens who have been safeguarding Nature. Be it collecting plastic waste, checking the deteriorating tree cover or making a conscious effort to reduce air pollution, their struggle to take care of the environment is a 365 day concern, and have got the spotlight from pandemic to show how crucial is the task to make our surroundings more liveable!
One dream, one million trees
“I have been diagnosed with asthma, and saw many around me develop breathing troubles owing to the appalling air quality in Delhi-NCR,” says 18-year-old Aditya Dubey, a Noida resident, who has so far planted 15,000 trees in the city! He has been involved in environmental causes throughout his teen years, and says, “It was the thought to support long term well-being of people that motivated me to start the initiative, Plant a Million Trees.”
He has been distributing seed orbs, which are seeds wrapped in a small amount of fertilisers, and then coated with clay. “When they are put in the ground during monsoon, they have a higher chance of growing into trees. I’ve distributed about 1,80,000 seed orbs in and around the Capital, to various NGOs and even children’s hospitals under the campaign, Each One Plant One,” he adds.
Dubey has also filed petitions against e-commerce companies using excessive plastic packaging and also against the rising air pollution in the Capital. He opines: “I believe every citizen of the country can contribute to making the environment cleaner for the future generations and we need to use more sustainable means to ensure our survival!”
Education and environment go hand in hand!
For Gurugrammer Nilay Agarwal, watching slums teeming with dirt and pollution, with kids begging and playing around, made him decide to do something for this cause. That’s when Vishalakshi Foundation, an NGO set-up by Agarwal, initiated the Clean N Green (CNG) project in 2020, to clean up dumpyards and convert them into green zones. He shares how they converted a dumpyard into a free school for kids, where more than 50 children are being taught by volunteers now!
“Ours is a youth led organisation that is keen to promote education among the underprivileged while caring for the environment. We identified a slum in Gurugram’s Sector 48, which we cleaned using diggers and excavators and planted trees to make the area green. We’ve placed separate dustbins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances to promote cleanliness drive... Often, once we clean an area, people let it stay clean for a while before littering again. But by converting those areas into greener spaces for education of kids, we ensure they are treated with much more love and concern,” says Agarwal.
His organisation also encourages the kids, who come to study, “to bring steel utensils during the food drives and thus eliminate the use of plastic plates and packaging to barely 20% of its original need”. Agarwal says, “We simply want to send a message that every small step counts towards protecting the environment!”
A native nursery for Delhiites
Amid the coronavirus crisis, environmentalist Vimlendu Jha’s NGO Swechha has been making efforts to raise awareness about native species of trees and vermicomposting while working on their Farm School, about 100kms from Delhi. “We are launching our native nursery at the school on this World Environment Day! The purpose of the Farm School, a hands-on academy on sustainability, is to engage the community at large, especially youngsters, on issues of resilience and finding long-term solutions to ecological degradation,” says Jha.
Jha’s organisation, which has also been working for the cause of river Yamuna for decades, has hit a roadblock in that direction, due to the pandemic. He adds, “Delhi remains one of the most polluted Capitals of the world with over 200 days in a year having ‘bad air’ days. Yamuna still remains a sewer line, and it’s only getting worse by the day with the number of instances of high levels of ammonia in the river increasing every passing year. Pandemic has affected our work on ground, as trees can’t be planted on video calls, or river can’t be cleaned over Instagram!”
Author tweets @bhagat_mallika