A clean and green India. That is the vision most of us have for our country. Yet few of us are willing to go the extra mile to achieve it.
From a doctor couple in Karnataka, to a school student in Noida, here are four stories of people from different walks of life doing their bit for the country.
Two doctors have been sweeping in change every morning in the small town of Challapalli, Karnataka.
For the last 339 days. Dr DRK Prasad and his wife, Dr Padma have been getting up by 4:30 am every day to set out to on their mission to create a ‘Clean, Green and Healthy Challapalli.’
Every morning, the doctor duo –along with an army of volunteers – clean roads and drains, build new toilets and educate people about the ill-effects of open defecation – all before they head off for a hectic day of work at their clinic.
Their work is a part of an initiative by the Challapalli Jana Vignana Vedica (JVV).
In less than a year, the group has been successful in ending open defecation along the main roads, has created awareness among students about the importance of good hygiene practices, has increased the green cover in their town and has also encouraged the villagers to pursue a plastic-free initiative.
Their efforts have won them the ‘Greenleaf Award’ from Amala Akkineni.
A school competition with a mission: Bag It
Akshat Prakash passes the Hindon river on his was to school every day. To his alarm, he found that every day, the black silt and refuse in the river seemed to eat away a little bit more of its sparkling blue.
That is when he hit upon the idea of starting a community initiative that would help clean the country, while also leaving room for some good-natured competition.
In September 2015, Akshat launched the ‘Bag It Challenge.’
The concept is fairly straight forward:
• A school takes up a cleanliness drive in a nearby area
• They then inform the municipal corporation of the drive a day before
• On the cleanliness drive, school children, armed with safety-kits (e.g. gloves, boots, sanitizers, brooms etc) fill up garbage bags with the waste collected
• The school declares their Bag Tally that is the number of bags collected
• The school then nominates three more schools to try and beat their Bag Tally.
• Any school that wishes to participate can also nominate themselves to this challenge, without waiting for invitations or nominations.
• The number of schools grows through a multiplier effect.
• At the end of the year, Bag Tallies of all participating schools are compared and a ‘King Bagger’ award is given to the school with the highest bag tally.
Currently, more than 15 schools in the Delhi-NCR Region have participated in the Challenge.
Swimming from New Delhi to West Bengal for a clean India.
Image Source: Facebook
In a bid to create greater awareness about the importance of clean and green surroundings, the Indian Armed Forces in association with the Ministry of Urban Development launched ‘Ganga Avahan,’ an impressive adventure expedition spanning fifty days.
On the 1st of October, 2015, a team of army personnel led by Wing Commander Paramvir Sing, set off from New Delhi. The team of three swimmers and six raft-men swam all the way from the capital to Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. Swimming about 60 kilometres a day, the team crossed Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Ballia, Patna and Kolkata, ending their expedition on the 19th of November, after having covered more than 2.800 kilometres.
Along the way, the team interacted with officials, local leaders, dignitaries, students and citizens, spreading the message of a clean India. They also informed people about the importance of cleaning the river Ganga and how it could benefit communities in the years to come.
Three Women, Three Places, One Mission: A Toilet in Every Home
Suvarana Lokhande, Sangeeta Awhale and Chiatali Rathod are being hailed as role models by the Municipal Corporations of their towns for their insistence on building toilets to ensure the health of their family members. Awarding them the title of ‘Swachcha Doot,’ the Municipal Corporations felicitated and honoured these women.
Suvarna from Sinnar-Nashik district took on a loan from a self-help group to build a toilet in her house, while Sangeeta from Saikheda-Washim district sold her mangalsutra to fund the toilet. Chaitali, from Yavatmal, asked her parents to build a toilet at her in-laws’ place as a wedding present.
Their actions also gained wide-spread popularity when their Municipal Corporations issued ads in regional newspapers lauding their efforts.