06 Jun 2023  |   04:59am IST

Showing love and protecting the environment

World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5 all around the world. This year marked the golden jubilee anniversary of this occasion. Students and youngsters came together to show their love for the environment and several clean-up drives and other such activities were carried out throughout the state
Showing love and protecting the environment

Janice Noronha

This year marked the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, a momentous occasion when the world comes together in a symphony of hope and determination to celebrate a day that holds the very essence of one’s existence. This annual global event, observed on Monday, served as a powerful reminder of the urgent need to safeguard the planet and its precious resources. World Environment Day brings together people from all walks of life, uniting them in a shared commitment to environmental protection and restoration. According to the official website of World Environment Day, this year the theme will focus on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution. A galore of youngsters and green activists all over Goa have undertaken activities to conserve and show their love for the environment

St Joseph Vaz College, Cortalim in association with Biodiversity Management Committee, Sancoale organised a clean-up drive to ‘Clean the Nullah’ at Sancoale. Commenting on the detrimental effects of the non-biodegradable product, assistant professor of Chemistry of the college, Dr Melwin D’Souza, states, “In today’s era, it is very easy and convenient for us to use plastic. However, it poses dangerous and harmful effects to all life forms including humans. Despite knowing that, we still use plastic. So, lets us pledge and put an end to plastic usage.” Shariff Ansari, a student of the college added that as a student he feels that educating about this issue at the grass- root level in schools and as well as in colleges, encouraging them to say no to non-biodegradables, will bring a lot of positive change to our environment.

The 1 Goa Boys and Girls Battalion of St Xavier’s College, Mapusa, recently organised a series of events in honour of World Environment Day. The Girls Battalion took part in the ‘Puneet Sagar Abhiyan’ at Calangute beach. They campaigned, performed street plays, and cleaned up the beach to raise awareness about environmental issues. On May 25, they organised ‘Mission Life - Lifestyle for Environment’ at Calangute beach, where they focused on promoting a cleaner environment and reducing plastic usage. The cadets collected waste and educated people about proper waste disposal methods and the consequences of polluting the environment. They also expressed interest in a poster-making competition titled ‘Mission Life - Lifestyle for Environment.’ Similarly, the 1 Goa Boys Battalion organized a clean-up drive on May 25 at Miramar Beach. Cadets from various colleges participated and spread awareness about the harmful effects of plastic. The event included a street play performed by cadets from DMC College, highlighting the problems caused by water pollution as reported by Sgt Riya Bhaidkar and JUO Meldon Fernandes of St Xavier’s College NCC Girls and Boys Unit respectively.

UZWAAD- The Rays of Hope is another key catalyst in undertaking this quest to preserve and care for the environment. The NGO has undertaken several campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and preserving the environment. “We take pride in our commitment to promote environment conservation and sustainability. Keeping in mind the name Uzwaad (light), we have been working tirelessly over the years to spread the light of awareness on Goa’s natural heritage protection. One of the main ways we spread awareness is by organising clean-up drives. These drives aim to emphasize the importance of proper disposal of waste and the negative effects of littering,” states Albert Rodrigues, an avid environmentalist and proud member of the NGO.

He further adds, “We also organise plantation drives to encourage the planting of trees and their role in mitigating climate change. Believing in the fact that ‘Seeds have life’ Uzwaad promotes the activity of ‘seed saving and seed sharing’ through sharing the saved seeds and seed bombs after the performance of street plays.”

In the era of social media, Uzwaad has also taken the initiative of creating awareness-based videos to reach a wider audience. These campaigns educate individuals on the potential hazards posed by environmental destruction and what actions they can take to prevent it. They also organise activities such as mangrove awareness walks. These walks engage individuals in the importance of preserving the various plant and animal species that reside in these vital ecosystems. Along with this, Uzwaad has also organised an All Goa Street play competition on the topic ‘Mhadei - The Lifeline of Goa.’ Uzwaad’s president, Sendra Pereira, visits various educational institutions as a resource person to spread the light and sow the seeds of sustainable living amongst the young minds.

Raghuvir Mahale, the founder of Yuva, a national awardee organization based in Panjim, highlights their instrumental role in carrying out various cleanliness drives since 2014 under the Swachh Bharat Nitol Goem initiative. They have undertaken several initiatives, including cleaning the Heritage area of Mala, addressing slippery roads during rainy seasons, promoting four-way segregation, distributing free paper bags, and conducting post-monsoon beach cleaning. Yuva has also been actively involved in the upkeep of the heritage spring Fonte Pheonix (Mala Zar) since 2016. Last year, on the occasion of 10th anniversary of the NGO, they opened the underground tunnels of Mala spring for an art exhibition which attracted over 35,000 footfalls from all over Goa.

Alongside their cleanliness initiatives, Yuva has been actively involved in planting and distributing saplings since 2012. Last year, they planted and distributed over 950 saplings in collaboration with various schools and colleges. This year, Yuva plans to further expand their efforts by planting and distributing over 5,000 saplings throughout Goa.

He claimed that youngsters actively participate in cleanliness drives through their eco clubs. The organisation collaborates with educational institutions and have received an excellent response from schools such as Mushtifund High School, Dr KB Hedgewar High School, and People’s High School, as well as colleges like Don Bosco’s College and Dempo College.

“Educational institutions should consider making it compulsory for students to complete a specific number of hours of social work. This initiative will motivate young minds to engage in various activities that serve nature. Raising awareness about cleanliness is a crucial step, as the same youth will be the pillars of our country,” states Raghuvir.

IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar