On the occasion of the International Day of Action For Rivers, we have come up talking about people who are raising awareness about the importance of rivers in India. Read about them below!
One of the major lifelines, that we often happen to take for granted, which is much essential for the survival of humankind is water and all its forms. Rivers are one such form, and India sees many running across some states. They are used for irrigation, washing clothes, and other purposes. However, most of the activities performed around rivers tend to pollute the water body, ultimately leading to cause health ailments. While all of us need to come into action to save this precious source of life, herein we are trying to take inspiration from these people who are raising awareness about the importance of clean rivers.
1. Rajendra Singh
Also known as ‘Water man of India’, Rajendra Singh has devoted his life to cleaning and restorations of rivers. He was also part of the national-level body to clean up the river Ganga from 2010 to 2012. It is due to his efforts of initiating traditional rainwater harvesting in Rajasthan that led to the restoration of the flow of rivers in the state. To honour his contributions, he has also been awarded the Stockholm water prize, which is referred to as a Nobel Prize for Water.
2. Lakshmi Durga
To clean the rivers across the country, Lakshmi Durga, through her NGO Jeevanadi Foundation, has been able to clean six rivers including Krishna, Godavari, Kaveri, Thungabadra, Pranahitha, and Yamuna, during Navaratri seasons, when devotees come from various parts of India to take holy dips. Durga, along with her volunteers, has taken up various awareness campaigns to sensitize people, including their programmes to help people understand the measures one should take while having a holy dip to save rivers from pollution.
3. Shailaja Deshpande
Shailaja Deshpande, who hails from Pune, has been a popular crusader who always aimed at saving divers from “dying”. She started Jeevit Nadi- Living River Foundation solely to work in this direction. She has conducted many programmes and initiatives like Muthai River Walk, Mobile River Exhibition, Muthai River Festival, etc. This apart, she has also organized Toxin-Free Life Style to help people opt for a better lifestyle that does not create harm to the rivers and Adopt A stretch – another programme to check the sources of pollution and clean the rivers.
4. Arun Krishnamurthy
Since the inception of his NGO, Environmentalist Foundation of India, Krishnamurthy, along with his team, has worked on 129 water bodies, including rivers, lakes, streams, etc. across 14 states in India. In his words, that can be heard through one of his videos uploaded on their website, “To see a polluted water body hurts.” Krishnamurthy and his team have worked for the cleaning and restoration of rivers, lakes, ponds in Chennai, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, Andhra Pradesh, and other places.
5. Chandra Kishore Patil
Chandra Kishore Patil from Nasik has been popular for using a different approach to aware people of the importance of rivers. For the past few years, he has been standing near the Godavari river with a whistle in hand to stop people from dumping waste into the river. In addition, to make people understand, he fills a bottle with water from the river and asks people or passers-by to drink it. As they refuse to do it, he makes them realize how their actions contribute to polluting the river. We must say, it’s a commendable effort!
6. Ronnie and Zarina Screwvala
Determined to provide clean drinking water to rural households, Ronnie and Zarina Screwbala have been organizing various awareness programmes for a long time. The duo runs Swades Foundation, a non-profit that works towards the conservation of water bodies in Maharashtra. For all their water projects, they aim at bringing water from the sources like rivers for a storage reservoir that can ultimately go to each household through a distribution grid. Not only this, but they also train a representative from each community who can understand the operations and maintain the project.