In the build up to the World Environment Day on June 5, the government has formed 19 teams which will undertake cleaning of 24 beaches and an equal number of polluted riverfronts and lakes across India.
India is the global host of this year’s World Environment Day Celebrations, the largest UN-led celebration on environment, and the theme for this edition is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
The Environment Ministry said that cleaning up of around 24 beaches in nine coastal states and riverfronts in 24 identified polluted stretches in 19 states will be undertaken by the teams. A special cleanliness drive will be carried out at Yamuna riverfront in Delhi while certain lakes and water bodies have also been identified for cleaning.
The 19 teams will include senior officers of the ministry, state nodal agencies in-charge of eco-clubs of schools, State Pollution Control Boards, district administration, college of fisheries located along the coastal stretches and other educational and research institutes, it said.
The teams will involve school and college students, and local communities in the cleaning exercise, while the ministry will engage eco-club in schools which are being provided assistance under the National Green Corps programme.
“An amount of Rs 10 lakh has been earmarked for each stretch of beach, riverfront and lake. Cleaning up around important archaeological sites will also be taken up. The clean-up activities have started from May 15 and will conclude on June 5. During this period, various cultural programmes, quiz competition, debate, awareness rallies will also be organized,” the Environment Ministry said in a statement.
For cleaning the water bodies, the ministry has identified the stretches in consultation with State Nodal Agencies (SNAs) and institutional heads from College of Fisheries, which are near the water bodies in each state.
The drive will also involve members from NGOs, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Coast Guard and citizens.
Cleaning equipment such as brooms, baskets, gloves for children and dustbins will be provided, as well as arrangements for transportation of waste will also be made. The waste collected from the beaches and riverfronts will be safely disposed off at identified sites, in coordination with local municipal authorities, the statement said.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, has also written to the principals of schools across the country, requesting them to declare their institutes free of plastic pollution.
The ministry will certify schools that become plastic-free and publicise the harmful effects of plastics in a mission mode by undertaking various activities. At the end of the programme, the minister will present ‘Green School or college’ certificates to institutions that declare themselves free from plastic pollution.
To spread awareness on proper utilisation of plastic, the ministry will organise a mini-marathon at Vinay Marg on June 3 which will be attended by students from Delhi-NCR.
Around 10,000-15,000 people are expected to participate in the mini-marathon.
Marathons will also be organised in five other cities – Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar the same day.
For the World Environment Day celebrations, the ministry has drawn up several programmes and activities scheduled to begin from May. Some of these include – activities at Vigyan Bhawan here and various states and exhibitions on Rajpath lawns in the national capital.