On World Nature Conservation Day, July 28, see some eco-warriors in Delhi who are fighting against all obstacles to save Nature for a brighter future. These Good Samaritans relate their experiences of constructing nests, planting trees, and cleaning up trash.
Nature is a driving factor in human history. Humans, on the other hand, frequently mess with Nature’s methods, and as a result, suffer the repercussions. There are those people within a big population that is responsible for producing a disbalance in Nature’s ecological cycle that labor ceaselessly to restore that equilibrium.
“Every citizen is responsible for the state of their city and should work to improve it,” says Pranav Gaba, an environmental activist based in Delhi. His name appears alongside the trending hashtag #pranavsplasticpickup. Are you curious as to why? “When I was studying BBA in Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), I made it a point to pick up garbage on my way to college every day!” “I soon began to get recognized because I would collect trash while walking in my college uniform,” Gaba explains, adding, “I moved to Delhi in 2018 and continued my endeavor for the sake of having a cleaner city.”
Now I coordinate drives with other young people like myself, and I’m also actively working on a better solution to the recent issue of urban floods. To fight the Yamuna’s backwaters, I believe reverse flow gates should be installed across drainage channels. I’m also getting federal assistance.”
Swami Prem Parivartan or Peepal Baba, who has always liked planting peepal trees that “offer the best canopy of shade,” believes that a cleaner, greener city is a sure road to a brighter tomorrow. “Planting trees is always the greatest approach to protect the environment from humans… Since my arrival in Delhi (on May 22, 1992, from Pune), I’ve planted around 13,90,000 trees throughout the city. My first planted, with 28 trees, was in Punjabi Bagh. When I was 11, I began planting plants, mostly peepal, neem, Sheesham, and Jamun trees.
Now that I’m 57, I’m still planting trees because I feel it’s the most essential way to protect nature. “The effort is to plant trees for the three Bs – bees, birds, and butterflies,” explains this Delhiite, who has planted and protected around 20 million trees across the country with the help of volunteers.
Rakesh Khatri, commonly known as the Nest Man of India, has spent his life keeping Delhi’s surroundings chirpy, from growing trees to preserving Nature’s components for future generations. He is a former Old Delhi dweller who has built almost three lakh nests. “I always wanted to hear the birds chirp while I had my early morning tea,” Khatri adds, adding that “my elders used to tell me to switch on fans cautiously [when we lived in Old Delhi] because it could injure the birds that frequently make nests in the high corners of the roof.” When I moved to Ashok Vihar, I noticed a lack of bird-friendly habitats. Birds couldn’t enter homes anymore, and there weren’t many bushes for them to dwell in, so I experimented and began constructing nests out of coconut shells, bamboo sticks, husk, jute thread, and even tetra packs.”
Three cheers for these eco-warriors who never give up hope and battle against all difficulties to preserve nature for a better future!