Working towards the overall inclusion of society towards cleanliness, Vrikshit Foundation encourages people to take responsible action

June 9, 2022, 11:51 a.m.

By: Reshma Jain

After multiple complaints to the government, letters to local municipal officials, a wait of over months, and ignorance towards climate change, Shankar Singh decided to solve the problem of waste management in communities, starting from his own neighbourhood. To solve the crisis, Singh knew that sustainable change cannot be achieved alone, and later he founded the Vrikshit Foundation with support of his few friends and students. Vrikshit Foundation was started with a vision to create a more environmentally responsible generation in our society and eliminate the need for the foundation’s existence.

Vrikshit Foundation is a movement of young volunteers. As a pure youth-led organization for sustainability, they work on: Cleaning public spaces, residential areas, slums and any waste covered piece of land. Planting trees and creating mini forests across cities, towns and villages. Landscaping & painting the cleaned sites to transform them into social assets such as learning centres, maintained parks and accessible public spaces. Creating awareness on Volunteerism, Climate Change, Environment and Waste Management as well as using memes, social media and collaboration to engage the communities they serve.

On being asked about the impact that has been created, Singh said, “In terms of number, we have collected 7.8 million kg of waste. At 400+ locations which we have cleaned in the last 3 years include parks, streets, roads, beaches, and remote areas like mountains and forest. Not only cleanliness, we did a massive plantation drive across the nation and so far, we have planted 20.9k trees across India. We have impacted more than 3,00,000 people directly by cleaning the public space so that it can be more accessible to all the sections. We have redefined youth volunteerism & mobilized a powerful team of over 3,500 volunteers across India.”

Singh, 25-years-old, further said, “The impact of the organization does not end with cleaning spaces but it goes an extra mile to ensure that cleaned spaces are transformed into usable social assets. The team has cleaned, painted and transformed public spaces such as metro pillars, roadsides and waste-filled parks into messages of change, hygiene spaces accessible to everyday road users and children-ready playgrounds.”

One of the challenges as Singh puts it is to maintain cleanliness. “Even after cleaning the place, it becomes dirty again in the next few weeks. So, we build a local community and start advocating for them to lead this mission in their area. With the support of local residents, we are now able to maintain cleanliness in most of the locations,” he shared.

We all have to lead this mission if we want to live pollution-free. It is high time people are aware of their basic civic responsibility, they are responsible for their own action and promote sustainable development. More involvement from kids and students to promote the simple message “Clean Air and Clean Water” will go a long way in bringing about a change.

In the next couple of days, Singh along with his team have taken an initiative to clean the mess that will be left by tourists on Shri Kedarnath Route. Singh concluded by saying that he wishes to sensitise people on their individual responsibility to ensure we leave back a healthy planet for the future generations to come.

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