By Brij Khandelwal
Mathura, May 22 (IANS) An innovative green crusader from Mathura, Pradeep Bansal, is out to save Yamuna from environmental degradation. The businessman has drawn attention of environmentalists and eco-activists who now want his experiment replicated in other towns along the banks of the river.
In less than three years, the Yamuna Mission launched by Pradeep Bansal to green the vast stretch of waste-land, land-fills, garbage dump-yards, along the Yamuna, using sewer and drain water, has started yielding results.
Harit Yamuna Mission Foundation has been working on various issues related to the environment since last two years. “We have taken initiative to clean-up Yamuna river in Mathura and Delhi,” says Bansal. “From Mathura we are gradually proceeding towards Vrindavan.”
“Drains which used to open into the river earlier are now diverted to trenches and pools in a systematic manner. The waste water filtered and recycled turns the area green,” local project director, Rashmi Sharma told IANS.
Mathura’s longest Masani Nala (drain) has been diverted and turned into a 5 km-long canal along the river. Water is channelled into trenches and slush is removed periodically to ensure that the water remains safe, a worker at the site told IANS.
“All solids including polythene, plastics are stopped, then solid waste removed by machines, before water is allowed to flow freely into the five km long canal.
On the way it gets filtered as it passes over sand. Half the water seeps into the earth, a good percentage is absorbed by trees along the way, and a fairly large quantity gets evaporated bringing temperature down, and hardly any water is left at the fag end of the canal,” explained Rashmi Sharma.
“We are getting support from a variety of groups and activists,” Pradeep Bansal told IANS.
“From Mathura as we gradually proceed towards Vrindavan, most drains on the way have been diverted and prevented from discharging into the Yamuna. We are encouraging people to come to our Tulsi Van and plant saplings.”
The total distance covered so far is around 7 km, including Kans Kila, Badhpura, Dhruv Ghat area. A dozen big and small drains that were earlier opening into the river are now tapped and water diverted to pools and trenches.
Launched on February 15, 2015 the Harit Yamuna Mission Foundation is a dream project of Pradeep Bansal, who says it aims to protect, conserve and create awareness about the environment
“Actions often speak louder than words, so over the times Yamuna Mission has built a strong base of supporters spread across the country.
“Besides, the Mission has also been able to highlight various climate change issues. To maintain its independence, Harit Yamuna Mission does not accept any donations. Its perspective has broadened to reflect a more holistic understanding of conservation issues facing the country.”
Each year millions of Sri Krishna devotees visit Braj mandal and conduct pujaparikrama of the holy river in Vrindavan.
“But unfortunately, Yamuna is in a very poor state due to the filth and stink all around and the sewer lines openly discharging all the untreated waste.
“In some stretches the pilgrims cannot even take a holy dip. In the rat race for so-called development, the lush greenery of Mathura and Vrindavan has disappeared. Projects like the one Yamuna Mission has launched hold hope for the future,” said Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of Friends of Vrindavan.