IANS. March 22, 2009. The Hindu; The Tribune.
New Delhi (IANS): A clear blue Yamuna in Delhi… surprised? That’s what a group of young enthusiasts discovered during a bus tour along stretches of the river on World Water Day Sunday, and they promised to do more to conserve the dying river.
Delhi Greens, a non-governmental initiative of youngsters working on environmental issues, organised an eco bus tour which took the participants to the Bhaleswa landfill and lake complex, the Yamuna biodiversity park, Wazirabad barrage and finally concluded at the Pontoon bridge on the Yamuna near the Tibetan monastery in north Delhi.
Vidya Subramanian, one of the organisers of the tour, said: “This tour was specifically for the (World) Water Day. Instead of complaining about the dirt, we wanted people to realise that there are still portions of the river which do not stink like the rest in the city and we have to protect it. Nearly 90 percent of those who have come on the tour are students.”
“We have been organising various urban eco bus tours which aim to bring the city’s people closer to the environment around them and make them conscious that they are responsible for conserving it,” Subramanian told IANS.
The clear blue waters of the Yamuna at the Wazirabad barrage and the humming of the birds on the banks at the Yamuna biodiversity park enthralled and actually surprised many, Subramanian added.
“The barrage actually gave one the feeling of being in Rishikesh!” she said.
“You know people are aware of the large scale destruction of the Yamuna. The stink of the river is actually unbearable in some parts and there are scores of petitions with regards to that pending in the court.
“But our aim is to make the entire approach more participatory. By seeing the beautiful side of the river, and discussing about it with like-minded people, a hope is seen that all is lost,” she added.
But ‘symbolic’ cleaning of the river is not what Subramanian has in mind.
“Wearing gloves and boots and cleaning the river doesn’t de-pollute the river. That has to be a policy intervention approach and is definitely not a one-day thing. There has to be more awareness amongst people, especially the youth, and that’s what we are trying to do,” she said.
One challenge that the group faced while organising the tour was the weather.
“We had as many as eight cancellations because of the warm weather. With summers approaching, we are now planning other activities for which the weather will not be a deterrent,” Subramanian added.