The issue of shrinking water resources has become a major issue around the country. As per Niti Aayog reports, India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history. Reports also suggest that Delhi and Bangalore could completely run out of groundwater by 2020.
All these reports and data suggest that not much is being done to control the situation. However, one man has taken it upon himself to do something about it.
Ramveer Tanwar, from Dadha village in Greater Noida, was moved by the plight of lakes. He started the cleaning and rejuvenation process of the lakes. Mr Tanwar, who works as an engineer in an MNC, has been reviving lakes and ponds since 2014.
Reviving dying lakes
“There are two cities in Gautam Buddha Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh – Noida and Greater Noida. There were more than 200 lakes in Noida and right now there are officially absolutely no lakes in the city. The situation in Greater Noida is slightly better as the lakes here have not gone obsolete but they are in extremely bad condition,” Ramveer told The Logical Indian.
This sorry state of water bodies in the city, which at one point served as a public attraction and source of water, now converted to a dumping ground, moved Ramveer to do something about it.
“Last year in Dabra village, we tried reviving a lake by removing all its waste. Many of the villagers came ahead to help. Some of them worked with us, some offered us tools and equipment. We even contacted the forest department which provided us with plants to be planted around the lake. Right now, the trees we have planted there are flourishing.”
Ramveer also observed that since a lot of plastic was dumped directly into these lakes, the process of underground water recharging was getting hampered. “We then devised a simple double filtration system. So any water entering the lakes would have to pass through a mesh of wooden planks and then a mesh of grass.”
The mesh of wooden planks help to stop bigger items like plastic bottles and the subsequent mesh then filters the incoming water further. This year itself, Ramveer has been able to revive three-four more lakes.
“We understand it is not a one time job. So, we have told the fishermen there that we will clean the lakes for them, but the responsibility of maintaining it would rest on their shoulders.”
Ramveer who considers environmentalist Vikrant Tongad his inspiration has been passionate about the environment since he was pursuing B.Tech. “When I was young, my friends and I would play around in the ponds and lakes. But as the time passed, all of these water bodies have vanished. The ones which have survived were observed to be in extremely bad condition. The quality and the level of groundwater has also gone down considerably.”
While he was still in college Ramveer started “Jal Choupal”, a gathering of villagers, where he would explain about the importance of water conservation. “Due to lack of awareness, people in the village would waste water incessantly. They are doing this out of ignorance. Fining them for this is not a solution.”
Ramveer gives them real-time instances and makes them take pledges. “They themselves come up and tell how earlier they would get water just by digging five to ten feet, now they are forced to dig up to 150 feet,” says Ramveer.
What started from just one village, now covers about 50 villages. “The Uttar Pradesh government has made groups called the “Bhujal Sena” (Groundwater army) in every district. I have been appointed as the coordinator of my district.”
At a time when we are staring at a major water crisis in the country, initiatives like these prove that we still have hope.
The Logical Indian appreciates Ramveer Tanwar’s work and hopes that more people join him in the initiative.