From Morena to Mangaluru and beyond, a young cyclist’s crusade against single-use plastic

Brajesh Sharma from Morena in Madhya Pradesh is on a nation-wide “Bharat Paryatan” mission since 2019 to promote environmental conservation

July 13, 2022 02:52 pm | Updated 02:56 pm IST - MANGALURU

In his campaign against single-use plastic, Brajesh Sharma from Morena in Madhya Pradesh has already clocked 36,000-odd km on his rugged bicycle covering nine states.

In his campaign against single-use plastic, Brajesh Sharma from Morena in Madhya Pradesh has already clocked 36,000-odd km on his rugged bicycle covering nine states. | Photo Credit: MANJUNATH HS

In his campaign for environmental conservation and fight against single-use plastic, Brajesh Sharma, a 32 year-old man from Morena in Madhya Pradesh, has already clocked 36,000-odd km on his rugged bicycle. So far, he had covered nine states and it may take another four years for his “Bharat Paryatan” mission to cover the remaining states of the country.

Despite governments banning single-use plastic and local governments issuing orders in that regard, the ban has not completely come into effect at the ground-level, regretted Mr. Sharma, who reached Mangaluru a couple of days ago riding through National Highway 66 from Goa. Therefore, he chose to visit schools and explain to children the need for shunning single-use plastic as one of the means towards conserving the environment.

Riding for a cause

A resident of Sikroda in Morena district, Mr. Sharma began his ride on September 17, 2019, from Gandhinagar in Gujarat after he had to leave the para-military force due to an injury during training. So far, he has covered nine states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa and intends to cover the remaining states and Union territories one by one.

As part of his ‘Bharat Paryatan’ mission, Brajesh Sharma has so far covered nine states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa 

As part of his ‘Bharat Paryatan’ mission, Brajesh Sharma has so far covered nine states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa  | Photo Credit: MANJUNATH HS

“Counting kilometres was not my goal; instead, I wish to spend more time with students and farmers explaining the benefits of environmental conservation, organic farming and other activities that protect nature,” Mr. Sharma told The Hindu. So far, he has interacted with more than 30 lakh students and nine lakh farmers en-route and has interacted with them on various issues. “When kids are enlightened, they will naturally urge their parents to shun single-use plastic,” he noted.

Mr. Sharma pointed that the country’s core strength lies in rural India and organic forming and both should not be disturbed.

Minimum expenditure, maximum travel

Asked about managing his routine expenditure, Mr. Sharma said he does not stay in hotels; but prefers any road-side shelter including dhabas, temples, bus shelters and the like and also accepts things that people offer after hearing about his mission. He rides with just three pairs of clothes and buys new ones only after the existing ones get worn out, Mr. Sharma explained.

Mr. Sharma leaves for Dharmasthala from Mangaluru on July 13 and onwards to different places in Karnataka. He will then travel to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and move towards the North of India to complete his mission. Those intending to invite Mr. Sharma for a talk, may contact him on 7016995872.

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