Most people prefer just sitting around and complain about everything wrong with the environment and blame the government for the deteriorating environmental conditions. Vivek Gurav is a resident of Pune. He believes citizens should take care of the environment instead of blaming the authority. He took up the responsibility to take the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan forward and inspired many with his work.
Observation and Sensitization Towards the Environment
Vivek Gurav is a 25 years old software engineer. He shifted to Pune in 2014 to pursue his higher studies. He joined the MIT academy of engineering. Often he used to go for a walk near the river ghat. He observed that people mindlessly dumped plastic and trash in and near the river. He stepped up and took the initiative of cleaning the Indrayani river and surrounding areas. The efforts to clean the river lasted for 4 years.
After finishing college, Vivek shifted his focus to cleaning the entire city. Every day he would wake up at around 5-6 am to start his day by cleaning his surroundings. He named his initiative ‘Plogging.’
It is a western concept of cleaning your surroundings and picking up litter while jogging. In February, he took up a 30-day plogging challenge with his friends. Plogging is beneficial for the environment and the health of the person.
Creating Awareness Among People
Apart from picking up waste from the city, Vivek is always actively creating awareness among people about other environmental issues as well. He creates awareness about issues like climate, menstrual hygiene, mental health, and sustainable development.
He has also reached out to shopkeepers using plastic bags and has educated them about sustainable alternatives. He even convinced many shopkeepers selling cigarettes to install dustbins so that cigarette butts can be disposed of properly.
Eco Fitness Warriors
Initially, the behavior and mindset of people were not changing. Over time, over 4000 people have joined this Plogging initative. Society has started identifying them as Eco Fitness warriors.
Vivek mentioned, “Keeping the city clean is not just the duty of the government. We, citizens, are responsible for keeping our surroundings clean. The duty to contribute to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan lies with us.”
Use of Waste
Eco-bricks are made out of the non-recyclable plastic waste collected, and cigarette butts are recycled as well. With the help of various campaigns, over 5000 tonnes of waste have been collected. The waste that is recyclable is sent to Kabadiwalas as a source of income for them.
Awards and Vision
Vivek Gurav has received the Indian Youth Award (2019) and REX Karmaveer Chakra Award in 2019. The initiative was started by Vivek individually but now is turning into a movement wherein people are joining hands to clean the environment. Vivek is actively promoting zero littering habits and envisions a cleaner environment.
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