Community Volunteers Clean Three Rivers to Make Village Pollution Free
Have you noticed that most of the rivers in India, be it Narmada, Godavari, Ganga or Kaveri have been anciently named after Hindu gods & goddesses? Ever wondered what could be the reason to do so? The reason was simple; the ancient Indians wanted their people to worship the rivers just as we worship our gods.
Sadly though, through thousands of years, the meaning of true worship was diluted to lighting an incense stick & offering flowers & diyas to the river on holy days! I think what our ancestors truly intended was for us to take care of the rivers & worship them by keeping them clean & pollution free.
Thousands of years back people realized how important a river was for a civilization to flourish & thus they took great care of it. However as mankind progressed, unfortunately, we started forgetting the importance of keeping our drinking water resources free from pollutants of the world.
It is thus a welcome change thus, when recently volunteers from an entire village got together to clean three important rivers in their vicinity. Sangrun in Maharashtra is situated on the confluence of three rivers – Mose, Ambi & Mutha. Like any other village, Sangrun has since long depended over the three rivers for its daily water needs as well as for fishing from the rivers.
However, since the past decade, the water quality had been degrading severely due to the high percentage of pollutants & industrial wastes found in the waters. Since Pune is downstream of Mutha from Sangrun, the water further gets polluted from the city’s discharges. A survey has declared water from both Mula & Mutha rivers in Pune unfit for drinking. This is largely because of the open defecation on the river banks, domestic sewage discharge, industrial pollutants & solid waste dumped into the riverbeds.
An initiative started by Sangrun villagers two years back to keep the Mutha River clean & plastic or waste free. As many as 300 villagers got together with women in lead to sweeping clean the village & separate the waste (especially plastics) to prevent it from being washed into the river basin.
Apart from the cleanliness drives with community volunteering, the villagers have also adopted a robust Garbage management system. The daily waste is segregated into biodegradable wet garbage & dry garbage like plastics. The plastic garbage is collected centrally by the village & sold to a waste recycling company which pays for the plastic. The money collected centrally is distributed fairly amongst the villagers.
The wet garbage is also collected across the village twice every week & disposed on open grasslands. The village is further going to adopt composting techniques to effectively deal with the biodegradable waste. The villagers will also soon have put in place a soak pit to redirect the grey water from sewers for treatment instead of being discharged in the gutters.
Seeing the villagers’ community participation, a leading company has offered them funds under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities to build closed gutter system in the village. The village is now 100 percent sanitation-friendly with toilets built in each house instead of defecating in open. The fishing grounds of the locals are once more free of plastic, which in turn has helped the water’s ecosystem to flourish.
Sangrun is a success story not only because of the villagers’ volunteering but also because of the leadership of its Sarpanch, ward officers & corporator. We hope other villages on the banks of Mula –Mutha will follow suit. Companies supporting waste recycling should reach out to more areas to effectively end the choking of the river because of plastics.
Not just villages, even we as city dwellers should take out time for community participation in keeping our river banks waste free. You as educated citizens of the changing Indian must donate your sweat to clean the ancient lifelines of our civilized existence –our Rivers!
Tags: Best Volunteer Activity Ideas, Clean Water Resources, Community Service Ideas, Community Volunteering For Clean River, Eco-friendly Activity, Environment Conservation Volunteering, Environment Protection, Inspirational Volunteer Stories, Volunteer for Environmental Groups, Volunteering Ideas for Youth, Water Conservation Ideas