Pune volunteers get their hands dirty cleaning rivers

Jeevitnadi – Living River Foundation launched a programme called ‘Adopt a River Stretch’ and Vitthalwadi comes under this project

pune Updated: Aug 14, 2017 14:39 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune volunteers,dirty cleaning rivers,Jeevitnadi
Volunteers of Jeevitnadi cleaning the river stretch at Vitthalwadi in Pune.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

A group of three became 30 when it came to cleaning a river. A group of like-minded residents came together with an idea of cleaning the river flowing near Vitthalwadi temple in Hingne Khurd. The work that began with three volunteers has now reached 30.

Jeevitnadi – Living River Foundation launched a programme called ‘Adopt a River Stretch’ and Vitthalwadi comes under this project. The group believes river restoration is possible only through people participation.

Prassana Pachwadkar, resident of Karve Nagar said, “I stay very close to the river. I would pass the Rajaram bridge and the plight of the river was unbearable. The aim of the foundation is to do the cleaning on your own and do it consistently because the government cannot provide support everywhere. So, we needed to bring together like minded people. When I met Aditi Deodhar (who is one of the founders of Jeevitnadi) and Omkar, we started working together on cleaning of the river.”

“This process of cleaning the river began during the end of May, Pachwadkar added.

Even after the group started cleaning the river, people would still dump their garbage. The group found a lot of plastic on the banks and floating in the river along with cloth pieces and discarded footwear. The group mostly finds liquor bottles around the banks of the river.

The volunteers of Jeevitnadi foundation are individuals from diverse professional fields who are passionate about environment conservation.Their mission is very simple: to revive rivers, create clean, beautiful, safe and a flowing Mutha River.

“We believe no river revival is possible without active participation of the citizens. Along with efforts at policy level, we aim at involving people in various river-related initiatives. We focus on what we can do for our river, on individual as well as community-level, said Aditi Deodhar, co-founder of Jeevitnadi.

The idea is to raise public awareness and participation, thus eliminating causes of pollution through toxin- free lifestyle, We are developing scientific and ecological management plan for revival of river and its sustainability.

The volunteers work on the idea of creating a group, adopt a river stretch for a period of one year, work there consistently, clean the river bank, check sources of pollution, assess measures for prevention, study human impacts, observe and document biodiversity, record changes and probable causes.

“We hope to have many such groups working on various stretches which will have a significant positive impact on the status of the river and our knowledge of the river. Along with tangible results, there will be non-tangible but importantoutcomes like increased awareness about river issues and a sense of belonging towards rivers.”

Veena Bagade, resident of Warje, who comes to clean the river banks without fail every Sunday said, “The river belongs to us. We should keep it clean not just physically but also the other parameters clean. We are part of the city and it is our duty to maintain cleanliness of the river than to rely on PMC officials”

This project is a collaborative effort of various organisations. Though it is launched by Jeevitnadi, other organisations will be involved in respective capacities. Sagarmitra is involved to prevent the plastic at source. Shrishti Eco-Research Institute (SERI) would be involved in implementing initiatives for improving water quality. Dr Swati Gole of Ecological Society has been providing guidance for developing roadmap of activities or the entire year.

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 14:39 IST