The 22 km of stretch of Yamuna in Delhi is infamous for being polluted. Majority of citizens living in Delhi/Noida/Gurugram have never visited the banks of river Yamuna mainly because to them it stinks like a sewage and is never an enjoyable site. What they fail to realize is that they are also responsible for the current state of Yamuna. They mainly blame the government for its filth and never care enough to introspect what could have caused a flowing river to turn into a stench-filled drain. The Government has meanwhile tried to construct STPs so that the generated sewage gets treated before it enters the river. But the scale at which this region is urbanizing, creating of a STP is always slower than construction of a new apartment/locality.
Meanwhile there is a new push from the newly formed Government on cleaning of rivers and water conservation. Cleanathon was organized by National Mission for Clean Ganga on 28th of June 2019 on all 8 ghats of Delhi stretch of river Yamuna. Attending Cleanathon, Hon'ble Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said 'Government could only be a catalyst, but to realise the dream and vision of Prime Minister- "Aviral Dhara", "Nirmal Dhara" and "Swachh Kinara", the Cleanathon project should truly become a mass movement.' Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, also insisted on JanShakti4JalShakti acknowledging the power of involving people into water conservation movement.
Taking it forward, TREE Craze Foundation initiated 'Meri Yamuna Mere Ghat' program at Kalindi Kunj Ghat on 21st July 2019. The objective of the program is to anchor a mass movement, hoping for a day where all stakeholders work together selflessly for rejuvenation of rivers and restoration of Ghats. Since 21st July 2019, TREE Craze Foundation has conducted 21 clean-up drives, involving people from all walks and spheres.
The objectives of the program are to:
Kalindi Kunj Ghat is located just after the Okhla Barrage and is a sore in anyone's eyes due to excessive foaming in the river Yamuna. Several people cross Kalindi Kunj bridge while traveling between Delhi and Noida, but hardly anyone stops to actually look at the state of the river and ghat. People who do stop have a polythene full of filth which they conveniently drop into Yamuna from the bridge with a belief that a river can wash away all their sins and filth. Hardly do they realize that this belief was only true when the waste was biodegradable and smaller in quantity. People who visit the ghat either have a Puja to perform or probably need a secluded place where no one can witness the illegal activities they are involved with. They also do not care what they are leaving behind, and some even love to throw empty glass bottles on the rocky ghats such that they can feel the pleasure of seeing glass breaking into several pieces.
While visiting the ghat and performing clean-up drives for 21 weeks in a row, there have been several experiences which may not all be written in words but mostly form a lasting impression on how destructive human can be to not even realize that they are spoiling their own lifeline.
Plantation drives without taking care of the maintenance leads to only wastage of money than any good. Hence, all our plantation drives have been conducted with locals or students taking ownership of the plants. Plantation drives at the Ghats of Yamuna in our program ‘Meri Yamuna Mere Ghat’ has been conducted with corporates such as Cognizant or individuals funding the plants and TREE Craze training the locals to take ownership of the plants.
As an attempt to connect the little kids to the environment, all the awareness sessions conducted in primary schools of Municipal Corporations were associated with plantation drives. The children are given a brief on how to take care of the plants, to maintain it and the benefits of the plants that they will derive from it.