In India, several states of the country reel under high pollution levels. The current existing systems of collecting, transporting, and disposal of solid waste are mired in chaos. When it comes to urban areas, the situation is acute as increasing populations generate equally larger quantities of solid waste, which are challenging to be managed effectively. The garbage conundrum in the country's national capital Delhi is not new, where huge piles of garbage are seen on roads every day.
To improve this situation and pave the way for a cleaner environment, a Delhi-based organisation called 'Vrikshit Foundation' has been round the clock to create hygienic surroundings for its people to live in.
The foundation is an initiative towards creating awareness and taking legible steps to overcome the severe issues of climate change, poor hygiene sanitation, diminishing green cover, and creating awareness to bring a change in people's attitude and initiating action to improve the conditions.
Clean-Up Drives In More Than 15 Cities
Founded originally by five members, the organisation today consists of a team of more than 3,000 individuals across the country. It holds up cleanliness drives at places where the government has not paid any heed after numerous requests. Since its launch, Vrikshit Foundation has organised 150 clean-up drives in more than 15 cities of India including Delhi, Amritsar, Ajmer, Jaipur, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Since childhood, Shankar Singh, one of the founders, has always been an environment lover. He always had a deep desire to contribute to the environment by bringing out some sustainable measures. To begin with, he along with his friends, set out on a mission to clean the Yamuna river, one of the primary sources of water for Delhi. They managed to clean a part of it and get rid of the sewage and industrial waste that render it toxic. After cleaning a portion, they uploaded before and after cleaning up pictures of the river on social media, which was well-received by netizens. It was when he decided to start his organisation and contribute to the environment.
"We plant trees, keep a count and monitor them, spread awareness about sanitation, and counsel people regarding the importance of good hygiene," told The Logical Indian.
The foundation also has its extended footprints in Kerala, Gurgaon, Bhilwara, Bangalore, Patna, Mumbai, and Himachal Pradesh. It is soon planning to extend its wings in other states as well.
So far, the team has cleaned more than 270 locations which includes cleanliness of the parks (dumping ground for local residents) and rivers, and has collected more than 65 M + Kg trash.
Awareness Among Locals
"We don't only organise cleanup drives but also have a team that stays in touch with the local residents where they hold the cleanliness and plantation drives for the regular updates so that the place remains clean and does not get littered again," Singh said.
"Whenever we do any activity or event in order to protect the environment we try to include the local residents in it and create awareness among them so as to make them responsible for the area surrounding them," he added.
The team also organises seminars in colleges and schools free of cost to talk about climate change and how individually one can bring change and save the motherland. "With our continuous efforts we were able to clean two rivers, Haiderpur Canal and Saroornagar Lake in Hyderabad," Singh said, adding that the cleanliness of Azheekal beach (Karunagappally Kerala) and Mangrove forest Kerala is in progress. He said that around 100 kgs of plastic was collected in the forest, which is very unfortunate.
Paints Walls With Responsible Messages
After cleaning a particular area, the team also paints the walls with inspiring and mind-provoking messages to create awareness among people. So far, the organisation has planted more than 19,345 plants with the proper geolocation.
Apart from the cleanliness and sustainable environment solutions, the team also provided ration to marginalised societies like sex workers of Delhi and migrant workers during the COVID-induced lockdown. In addition, it provided free oximeter and oxygen cylinders to residents of Delhi NCR.
"Medicine provision is also ongoing, where families whose members test COVID positive are provided with the necessary medication at their doorsteps," Singh added.