Driving a massive river cleaning drive
Kathmandu Valley is surrounded by the ever flowing holy rivers Bagmati and Bishnumati River. The river is also greatly significant for the economic and ecological needs of the region and its people. However, over the years huge amounts of chemicals, plastic and other non-biodegradable pollutants have disturbed the ecological balance of the river. More than tonnes of sewage produced daily in valley flow into the rivers untreated. Numerous attempts to rectify this have not had much success.
River cleaning campaign and the INSPIRATION
On May 2, 2011 at Kathmandu,Nepal during His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Visit to Nepal "Guruji" asked everyone to starting acting on it. Since then thousands of people from Kathmandu Valley, volunteers from The Art of Living, several organizations, citizens from kids, teenagers, youths and adults and also artists, pledged their support of an environmental project, BAGMATI RIVER FESTIVAL with the theme "Green Kathmandu Clean Bagmati".The aim was this project was to mobilize the citizens of Kathmandu Valley to clean the river with sevral AWARE- AWAKE - ACTION Campaigns.
Addressing the gathering on Mahasatsang and Conference, Sri Sri had concern for the deterioration of the Bagmati and Bisnumati rivers that touched the nerve of the attendees. He painted the degraded image of the holy rivers that have always remained important both economically and spiritually for the people in the Kathmandu Valley. Today these rivers are dangerously polluted with sewers and solid wastes discharged and dumped into them. The rivers should be embanked, preserved and purged off filth and effluents to ensure that clean and pure water flows down them. Imagine the beauty and serenity of the rivers if they are embanked, and both sides of them are greened with a variety of plantations. He asked the civil society and business community in particular to take up the task so that the government and local municipality will feel the heat and pressure to act. His vivid discription of the pathetic state of Bagmati and Bisnumati rivers and advice tendered to carry out Clean Bagmati-Bisnumati Operation should go well down the throat of the politicians and executive bureaucrats attending the congregation. They should indeed feel urged to act, if not embarrassed, for their shameless insensitivity and willful neglect to cause deterioration of the two sacred rivers running through the core of the capital.
BAGMATI RIVER FESTIVAL - Cleaning the river bank, rivers
BAGMATI RIVER FESTIVAL celebrated every Rainy season also as JAL JATRA boomed on World Environment Day June 05, 2011,from Aryaghat of Pashupatinath with the involvment of all the representatives from diverse religions Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Jews and others by pouring the holy water on the river.Also, Pancha Kanya's worshiped the rivers to start the program . With the involvement of organizers and supporters NRCT, STN/NTB, NARA, The Art of Living and others the cleaning of the ghats and plantation went on for around two months and took place at a different venue every weekend from JUNE till AUGUST, including almost all the ghats and river junctions.
Volunteers worked round the clock to spread awareness about this campaign. They ran free breath-water-sound workshops for slum dwellers, special workshops for children and gave talks to create awareness , School and college awareness campaigns and also encourage people to join in. Maximum of Kathmandu Valley citizens came together to support this project. With not just cleaning the rivers also the bridges were coloured in team participation and self intiation.
Sevral awarness campigns through various activities were organized such as Bagmati Yatra with KUTUMBA(renowned music band), Heritage Walks, Bird Watching, Tree Plantation, Art Competition, Rafting series with involvemnt from corporates, media, political parties, Workshops on Bagmati River and several others were conducted. The Art Living Volunteers even had satsangs, retreat and special SEVA Follow-ups at these places.
The Festival every year ends at one of the ghats with grand celebration and this time it happened at KALMOCHAN GHAT. Some of the strong initiatives reflected when volunteers joined hands to clean and colour one of teh oldested temples of Kalmochan Ghat named Kalmochan Temple.Around 3 weeks participation the temple was coloured with everyones participation.
Some of the activities conducted
- Almost all the ghats were cleaned , coloured and tree plantations - Promoted environment care through talks and workshops at various palces along the riverside to schools, colleges and even the malls. - Held SEVA Projects on AWARENESS campaigns via AWARE- AWAKE- ACTION Module