By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Dehradun, 12 Apr: Earth Day Network, an international NGO that grew out of the first Earth Day on 22 April, 1970, and, today, 49 years later, engages with over 50,000 organisations in some 190 countries to take the environmental movement forward, will hold special events in India as part of The Great Global Clean Up campaign.
‘’Specially crafted programmes are planned along the 2,510 km course of the Ganga River – from Devprayag to the Sunderbans,’’ said Karuna Singh, Country Director, Earth Day Network, India. ‘’This is a people’s movement that will help those at the grassroots level to be a part of the movement and understand better that keeping the Holy Ganga clean is beneficial to them. While on the policy level, the government has several schemes in place to clean the Ganga, this will be a bottom up approach in support of the government initiatives,” she added.
Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, Washington, said: “This Ganga initiative will serve as a lightning rod for many more countries and communities to get involved worldwide. As we look toward Earth Day 2020, we will mark the 50th anniversary of this historic movement with a myriad of events including what we are calling the Great Global Clean Up—so watch this space.” “For millions of people, clean-ups foster a sense of practical pride in their local environment and communities while serving as an entry point and a springboard for people of all ages and all walks of life to become environmentally engaged and delve deeper into what is happening to our world, its nature and its environment,” she added.
On 13 April, Vaisakhi Day – the New Year for some Indians, the formal inauguration of clean River Ganga campaign will take place at Devprayag at 12.30 p.m.
Dr Anil P Joshi, popularly known as the “The Mountain Man”, will be the Chief Guest on the occasion. Dr Joshi is a renowned environmentalist and Padma Shri awardee. He is also the President’s award winner for National Biotechnology Social Development Award 2017 for promoting biotechnology and is the founder of an NGO, Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO), Dehradun.
Over the next 9 days, all along the route from there to Haridwar, rallies-cum-campaigns will be held. Many ashram-wassies, sadhus, and academic institutions have pledged to walk along the Ganga and collect any garbage they come across. The collected waste will be handed over to the municipal corporations for proper disposal. All along the 105-km route, volunteers from Lok Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan (LPSS) will hold sessions to help people understand the hazards of indiscriminate littering of non-biodegradable waste, such as plastic and the adverse effects this has on human and animal health and on the many species that live in the Ganga water. Aside from clean-ups, campaigns to protect endangered species and increase the green cover will also form part of the initiative.
The Rally will have the following route and culminate at 4.00 p.m. on 21 Aprilat HarkiPauri, Haridwar, where a public dialogue will follow: April 13th – Devprayag Sangam to Gullar Sangam, Tehri Garhwal; April 14th – Shivpuri to Brahmpuri, Tehri Garhwal; April 15th – Laxman Jhula to Sachha Dham Ashram; April 17th –Purnanand Ghat to Ram Jhula, Parmarth Niketan; April 19th – Hanuman Mandir to Triveni Ghat, Rishikesh; April 20th – Kankhal, Haridwar; April 21st – Chandi Ghat to HarkiPauri, Haridwar.
“The upcoming event has already drawn much interest,” says Shyam Lal Bhai, Chairman of LPSS, the on-the-ground partner.
Over the next fifteen months, programmes will continue in this area and in other spots along the long course of the river till Sunderbans in West Bengal.