In an effort to keep up with its tag ‘Harit Kumbh’ or ‘Green Kumbh’, environmentalists and volunteers have managed to collect 1.6 tonne of plastic bags from visitors at Kumbh Mela. The volunteers, in return, have distributed around 6.25 lakh cloth bags.The plastic collected during the Kumbh Mela is being sent to Malegaon for recycling.
Environmentalist Rajesh Pandit said, “We wanted a green Kumbh Mela, so as to not pollute the Godavari river. We wanted to do something without hurting religious sentiments.”
To achieve their goal, the activists used various tricks to convince people. They requested mahants of various akharas to convey the message during their pravachan everyday. “This idea worked because their own gurus advised them against the use of polythene. People in large numbers willingly exchanged their plastic bags with our cloth ones. We even asked ministers and celebrities visiting Kumbh Mela to appeal to the masses to not use plastic or polythene bags,” added Pandit, who had filed a PIL in the Bombay HC to restrict the use of Godavari water.
It was a challenging task for the civic body as well to restrict the crowd from littering. “It was a daunting task for my team. Despite this, the green Kumbh initiative was fairly successful. We had ensured that there is no open defecation or littering. Hence toilets and garbage bins were installed across the twin-cities,” said Dr Pravin Gedam, commissioner, Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC).