World Nature Conservation Day: Delhi’s eco-warriors hold their swords high
On World Nature Conservation Day, July 28, meet some eco-warriors who continue to fight against all odds to conserve Nature for a better future in Delhi. These Good Samaritans share their journeys of building nests, planting trees, and picking up plastic from rubbish.
Nature is a driving force for humankind. Yet, humans often meddle with the ways of Nature, and thus end up facing consequences. Among a large population that is responsible for causing disbalance in Nature’s ecological cycle, there are some souls who work tirelessly to bring back that equilibrium.
‘Every citizen is responsible for their city’
“Every citizen is responsible for the status of their city, and should act towards its betterment,” says Pranav Gaba, Delhi-based environmental activist. His name pops up with the popular #pranavsplasticpickup. Wondering why? “When I was pursuing BBA in Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), I developed a habit of picking up garbage, on my way to college, everyday! Soon I started getting recognised since I would collect rubbish while walking in my college uniform,” shares Gaba, adding, “I came to Delhi in 2018 and continued my endeavour for the sake of having a cleaner city. Now I organise drives involving other youngsters like me, and am also actively working towards having a better plan to resolve the recent issue of urban flooding. I feel the reverse flow gates should be introduced across drainage channels, to combat the Yamuna’s backwaters. I’m receiving help from the government as well.”
‘Cleaner, greener city is a way to a better tomorrow’
A cleaner, greener city is certainly a way to a better tomorrow, in the words of Swami Prem Parivartan aka Peepal Baba since he has always loved planting peepal trees that “offer the best canopy of shade”. “Planting trees would always be the best solution to safeguard the environment from humans... From the date when I first came to Delhi (on 22 May 1992, from Pune), till date I’ve planted 13,90,000 trees in the Capital. My very first patch of plantation was in Punjabi Bagh with 28 trees. I was 11 when I started planting trees and mainly chose peepal, neem, sheesham, and jamun trees. Now I’m 57, and still plant trees because I strongly believe that it’s the most important solution to conserve Nature. The effort is to plant trees for the three Bs – bees, birds and butterflies,” says this Delhiite, who along with his volunteers has planted and preserved approximately 20 million trees across the country.
‘Preserve Nature’s elements for future generations’
From nurturing trees to preserving Nature’s elements, for the future generations, Delhiite Rakesh Khatri — better known as the Nest Man of India — has dedicated his life to keep the Capital’s environs chirpy. A former resident of Old Delhi, he has so far built more than three lakh nests. “I always wanted to hear the birds chirp while I have my early morning tea,” says Khatri, adding, “My elders used to tell me to switch on fans cautiously [when we lived in Old Delhi] as it could injure the birds that often make nests in the high corners of the roof. Later, when I shifted to Ashok Vihar, I saw a lack of bird-friendly environment. Birds could no longer enter homes and there weren’t many bushes for them to find a place to live, which is why I experimented and started making nests from coconut shells, bamboo sticks, jute thread, husk, and even tetra packs.”
Three cheers to these eco-warriors who never lose hope, and continue to fight odds to conserve Nature for a better future!
Author tweets @maishascribbles