Volunteers clean up the Chhath Ghat at Yamuna River as part of the Clean Yamuna drive.
Volunteers clean up the Chhath Ghat at Yamuna River as part of the Clean Yamuna drive.

Swachh Yamuna: Delhiites join forces to clean up the Yamuna

We all know the Yamuna is polluted, but a Delhi group has decided to actually do something about it.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Aditya Dogra, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 30, 2018 12:07 PM IST

Every time Delhiites cross the Yamuna, they squirm at the very sight (and smell of it) out it. Many even complain about the level of pollution in the river that has given it the infamous ‘naala’ tag that some refer to it by. But how often does one actually take charge and do something about improving the quality of the river? Not often, right?

But, the Maa Shri Yamuna Seva Samiti, along with a few Delhiites has already begun work, and is cleaning the Yamuna, one drive at a time. Brainchild of Ashok Upadhyay and Bhanu Pratap Tiwari, this initiative was started when the two felt that the river they consider as a goddess need some help. Tiwari and Upadhyay got some friends to join in, reached out to traders unions nearby and sought help from Neetu Tripathi, Councillor, MCD Shakarpur who herself believes in the cause, and organised their first drive earlier this month. “We see the Yamuna every day but don’t do anything. I did not want to just sit and watch as people polluted the river. Yamuna isn’t just a river for us but a goddess, and thus we decided to organise a drive. The first drive had a few people and many even discouraged me saying that I won’t be able to get support, but the Trader Unions volunteered to extend any help we needed. We were told that we should go on, and we’d get all the support,” says Tiwari, who also got volunteers to plant saplings this time around.

Ashok Upadhyay, the man behind the drive, cleans the Chhath Ghat at the Yamuna River.
Ashok Upadhyay, the man behind the drive, cleans the Chhath Ghat at the Yamuna River.

The group, this time stronger in numbers, got together on Sunday morning and spent two hours tidying up the Chhath Ghat area. The group not only included political figures and professionals, but also students from the Delhi University who promised they will be getting more friends next time. “I never really payed much attention to the Yamuna and its state. And, when I saw what the river looked like today morning, I was shocked. My friend got me here since he got a message on whatsapp that such a drive was happening and the hours we spent cleaning and helping around felt worth every second. I hope more people join in,” says Vikesh Sardana, a student of the Centre of Law, Delhi University. Neetu Tripathi Councillor, MCD Shakarpur too, echoed the same, adding, “We have plans to expand the drive once more people come in and clean all of Yamuna that flows through Delhi. The work on Chhath Ghat is just the start and bigger things are coming. It is in our capable hands to make this change,and we will!”

The group will now be organising a drive on Sunday, November 25, and hope to see more Delhiites pitch in. “Our drive on November 25 will begin at nine in the morning and the more hands we have, the fater we’d be able to clean up the area. People are more than welcome to join in, and if they want they could also bring saplings, gloves or cleaning supplies for the drive. This drive is by the people and for the people, so we’d appreciate a greater support,” says Tiwari.

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