More than 150 children of various schools, residents of Wazirabad village and volunteers of a social service organisation cleaned a dirty 10-foot deep pond in Sector 53, in which water was stagnating. The pond was also emanating a foul smell.
The activity was undertaken as part of Swachh Bharat mission. Volunteers also included non-resident Indians and few foreign research students. Dressed in white T-shirts and a cap, students and volunteers entered the pond and removed dirt that had settled below the water level. With the help of a net and handheld filter tools, the volunteers cleaned the pond in two hours.
“For now, our workers will clean the water using chemicals. Later, they will pump out water and refill the pond with fresh water. They will also ensure proper water flow. For fresh water supply, they will work in coordination with the local administration,” Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the brand ambassador of Indian Railway Swacch Mission and founder of Sulabh International, said.
In Gurgaon district, there are more than 200 ponds, a majority of which have almost dried up and several encroached upon. “We have dedicated volunteers who research such things. My good friend and social worker Pam Kwatra told me about this pond and I immediately allowed her to launch a cleaning drive, which is our mission. We are doing such works in Kurukshetra, Varanasi and other locations,” Pathak said. He said that Sulabh is looking for an opportunity to clean all ponds in the city.
Kwatra, a non-resident Indian (NRI), who owns an apartment in DLF Phase IV where she stays during her visits, said that she used to frequently visit the pond.
“I have seen people throwing puja residue into the pond, which gives out a rotting smell. Puja sthal (religious site) and pond, both are equally important, but we have to keep both totally clean,” Kwatra said.
Maria Fernandez, a volunteer, said, “I was delighted with the enthusiasm of children in sweeping the premises, collecting waste and cleaning the water. This is a message that we wish to relay across the city. Residents must adopt self-cleaning as a blessing, which was also the message of MK Gandhi.”