Sundays are river cleaning days

Alabama, United States
20th April 2010

30 citizens strive to make a cleaner, greener environment

Pune, India: Every Sunday, volunteers from the Art of Living choose to spend their mornings, scouring for rubbish in Pune’s canals (nalas).A part of the ‘Maze Pune, Maze Naadi’ initiative, this clean-up drive strives to ensure that the water which travels to the rivers is clean.

“We were inspired by residents of Dahanukar Colony which have started a similar initiative. At the Art of Living, we focus on creating a stress-free mind and a disease-free body. We want to create a pollution-free and clean environment in Pune,” shares Dilip Bhavsar, project co-ordinator.

The Art of Living Pune chapter has joined hands with the Samarth Bharat Vyas Peeth, an NGO which promotes environmental awareness and pollution control as well as the Pune Municipal Corporation and other NGOs.This clean-up campaign began on March 28. Art of Living follow-up classes are held every Sunday in different areas of Pune. After one hour and a half of yoga and meditation, 30 participants embark on the canal cleanliness drive.

Armed with face gloves, forks and gloves, the volunteer teams set out to pick out all the plastic bottles, bags, household items that they can find. The teams comprise IT professionals, homemakers, college students and even senior citizens.“It’s our responsibility, we should do something for society. I felt so happy after the first day of cleaning that I decided to go regularly,” says Bharat Kumar Rathi, who has been residing in the city for the past 12 years. “The rivers were very clean earlier, now they have become so dirty. There are two to three hundred thousand people who stay around the rivers Seeing our initiative, people are becoming more aware about the important of reducing pollution.”

Presently, two canals connecting to the Mutha river have been cleaned. Pune gets its water supply from four rivers – Mula, Mutha, Bhama and Ramnadi. The goal is to clean 16 canals and create gardens near each of these canals.Incidentally, the Art of Living chapter in Delhi started the ‘Meri Dilli, Meri Yamuna’ campaign on March 16 to clean the River Yamuna of garbage. Yamuna provides drinking water to 60 percent of Delhi, and 3.6 billion tonnes of untreated sewage is daily deposited in the river. Many NGOs, organizations, citizen forums have joined hands with the Art of Living to restore the cleanliness of Yamuna. These river cleanliness campaigns are a part of the Art of Living’s environmental care initiatives which include tree plantation, awareness drives and protection of indigenous species.