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Cleaning Noida’s water bodies, one weekend at a time

From poor air quality in winters to depleting groundwater level – Noida has been reeling under a lot of environmental problems since the past few years. At a time when the groundwater level of the region is decreasing by nearly one metre per year and the authorities are flouting the green laws time and again, a bunch of residents from Dabra village in Greater Noida, have come forward to clean the ponds and waterbodies of their locality, reported TOI. The group uses social media to spread word on their plans and people gather on their own to clean up the water bodies. Ramveer Tanwar, a resident of the Dabra village, who is also an engineer by profession, told TOI, Ours is an informal group, I usually announce a plan on social media platforms and people gather on their own to clean up the ponds. There is no money involved. Often the people who volunteer bring their own instruments. This bunch of people are not just cleaning up the ponds of Dabra village, but also those of the nearby villages like Kalpura, Salempur and Shahid Sarovar, since the past one year. The initiative began with a local pond last year and since then, many local boys have joined in to clean up other water bodies of the area. The volunteers usually clean up the garbage thrown on the surface of the pond with nets and also remove the hyacinth growth. They also remove garbage from the banks of the ponds and plant saplings there to retain the banks. Tanwar told TOI, I started it, but soon found out that a lot of youths are also interested in spending their weekends doing such voluntary work. The idea is to clean up every waterbody in Greater Noida, he added. The villagers have been throwing garbage including plastics and other waste materials into the ponds due to the lack of proper garbage disposal facilities in the villages. Another volunteer, Rohit Adhana told TOI, This exercise has made our weekends meaningful. We find joy in reviving the ponds. He also mentioned how he wishes other people to join in initiatives like this t improve their neighbourhood. Earlier this year, in March, Union home minister Rajnath Singh while visiting Noida stated that many ponds and lakes in the area are in bad condition, and requested NGOs and the local people to save them. Last month, villagers from Khodna Khurd village started protesting and even wrote to the District Magistrate over a temporary garbage disposal area, that would potentially lead to air pollution and even groundwater contamination.

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