Friends for a cause

Published: Sunday 30 November 1997

Friends for a cause

Eco-friends, a non-governmental organisation, has been striving to control pollution and protect the environment in Kanpur. One of its tasks is to depollute the Ganges, whose stretch along Kanpur has been identified as the most polluted one.

Five huge drains which carry domestic sewage and contaminated water from a tuberculosis treatment centre are discharging their contents at the water-intake point which serves as the drinking raw water source for half of the city's population. The members participated in protest marches, demonstrations, signature-campaigns, and dharnas and as a result of this sustained campaign the authorities initiated steps to tap and divert the drains which are discharging polluted contents.

Eco-friends has also established a network of eco-clubs in various educational institutions. It has organised various mass-awareness programmes in the past. Students in thousands have been prepared to work as an effective lobby against pollution and environmental destruction. During Ardha-Kumbha at Prayag in January-February 1995, the Eco-friends organised a religion-environmental confluence and focused on pollution of Ganga among other environmental issues. Inspired by this, some of the sadhus and sants adopted the issue for mass mobilisation.

A group of aware activists, Eco-friends embarked upon an integrated development plan to restore the lost glory of Kanpur. The organisation is preparing a workbook on Kanpur that would serve as an information base on various aspects of Kanpur. This would ensure a systematic process of urban planning and development with appropriate administrative action and enforcement and an effective public participation.

Eco-friends is now spreading its activities to some other cities of Uttar Pradesh. It has been endeavouring to make environmental issue a central issue, a political issue, and an issue of the masses.

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