Chennai: On Bhogi day, the city was filled with massive smog, where people burnt waste as part of traditional practices. Concerned over this, a section of students got down to keep a check on the pollution.
The students led ‘Garden City Youth Change’ organised ‘Vriksharupana’, a tree planting drive at Thalambur Link Road, Semmenjeri, OMR.
“We thought it would be easy to organise the drive here because we live in this locality and it would require less efforts to bring in more number of volunteers and organise a more efficient drive,” said Nishaal Guzzar, a eleventh grade lad who started this NGO along with his friends.
There were about 40 to 50 volunteers who came from neighbouring schools and communities and planted around 50 to 75 saplings thus seeding the idea of making every day ‘Earth Day’ in 2020.
Contemporarily, it is necessary that people be eco-positive rather religion-positive. “People should stop burning things just to satisfy the religious conventions leaving the environment at stake. Burning things on Bhogi should be restricted in Chennai,” said this young environmental enthusiast.
The organisation is further planning to organise another tree planting drive but this time in a larger scale. The lad said, there are smart city initiatives across the country but that should not succumb the green city initiatives. “We can strike the balance between smart city and green city but that requires efforts,” he said.
The very spark of starting this environmental organisation happened a year ago when Nishaal Guzzar and his friend had to dodge on to waste on their way to school on a daily basis. Instead of expecting someone to take initiatives and clear up the waste, the high school boys Nishaal and Guna started cleaning the waste on Saturdays and eventually it led to starting the organisation with 10 to 15 volunteers and now that has grown with having 90 to 100 volunteers.
“The ultimate problem that is prevalent among the people is that they know there are problems in our environment, they know about climate change but they don’t come forward to take initiatives to mitigate it and we strive towards changing this attitude of people,” he elaborated.
He said it is high time youth take things in their hands and it is decisive to highlight youth empowerment. “The environmental aspect is still crucial but the youth empowerment is equally important,” he said.
Taking things as their concern, these environmental enthusiasts who are mostly students had organised cleaning drives at Garden city to create a litter free place, wall painting adding details to the walls and the environment, in association with Environmentalist Foundation Of India (EFI) with an aim to create awareness among the passers-by on environmental-friendly activities and climate change and also conducted awareness seminars and are working hard to bring their efforts to the government’s notice, so that this budding environmental organisation would grow big with ideas, initiatives and the volunteers breaking the own set of hurdles that comes their way being students.
(Article written by Afrin Fowmitha)