Meet the heroes who are safeguarding our water bodies

From cleaning lakes to preventing its pollution, these eco-warriors are making the effort to ensure that water bodies are not harmed by human intervention.
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For the longest time, water bodies have been a favourite dumping spot for all categories of waste, leading to depletion of life in it. Be it toxic industrial waste or everyday kitchen waste, they have been flowing with the river currents.

The pollution in our water bodies has led to many aquatic animals choking on plastic parts, or swimming in toxic water, sometimes even leading to mutation of marine species. In fact, according to a study by UNESCO, plastic debris causes the death of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals.

Many environmentalists are now taking measures to clean and revive lakes in and around cities and villages. But here, Social Story, compiles a list of people who are neither environmentalists nor scientists, but are still going out of their way to ensure that lakes and water bodies are maintained, purely because of their interest in keeping their environment clean.

Chandra Kishore Patil

Image: Twitter

The Godavari river has seen a special hero in Chandra Kishore Patil, a resident of Indiranagar, Nashik, who is striving to protect the river from pollution.

Chandra Kishore, whose house is based very near the river, noticed the increasing levels of contamination for many years, especially after festival celebrations. Five years ago, in a move to to put a stop to this, he resolved to stand by the river during such times to monitor activities and to stop people from dumping waste into the river.

Tellingly, he makes a point by filling a bottle with water from the river and asking passers-by to drink it. When they refuse, he makes them aware of their actions and how it leads to severe water pollution.

N. S. Rajappan

N. S. Rajappan (Image: Twitter)

Single-use plastics have emerged as the bane of modern life and water bodies are their dumping grounds. Sixty-nine year old NS Rajappan is helping get rid of single-use plastic bottles that are often found dumped in a lake near his home. Hailing from Kottayam district in Kerala, Rajappan hires a country boat every morning and sets out to collect the plastic waste from Vembanad Lake.

Rajappan suffered from poliomyelitis at a young age, leaving him paralysed from knee down, and doing odd jobs for his livelihood . For over five years now, he has been religiously going to the lake to collect water bottles, always finding it easier to row a boat than walk.

Ramveer Tanwar

Ramveer Tanwar (Image: Twitter)

Hailing from Dadha village in Greater Noida, Ramveer Tanwar grew up playing near lakes. However, over the years, dumping incidents increased and the rivers became heavily polluted. While there were over 200 lakes in Noida at one point, the city now has none.

In 2014, Ramveer decided to clean these lakes with the help of villagers. Leaving his job as an engineer, he became a full time conservationist in 2016. So far, through the initiative, he has revived about 20 lakes and ponds, a majority of which are in Noida.

Gautam Dayal

Through his ‘Save Bellandur Lake’ campaign, Gautam Dayal aimed to clean the infamous foam build-up on the lake that was increasing back in 2018. The 17-year-old set up the online and offline campaign to mobilise citizens, scientists and activists to make people more aware and create feasible solutions.

Two years since, Gautam was able to successfully create more awareness around the issue amid the residents in Bellandur. Thanks to a larger number of concerned citizens, the dumping of industrial wastes and sewage has considerably reduced. In fact, his efforts have influenced the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to create a sewage treatment plant near the river.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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