Year ender Environment

A year of green crusaders in Visakhapatnam

Naval cadets involved in beach clean up drive at RK Beach organised by Eastern Naval Command (ENC) in Visakhapatnam

Naval cadets involved in beach clean up drive at RK Beach organised by Eastern Naval Command (ENC) in Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam has done itself proud in the environmental milestones department in 2019. The phrase ‘sustainable lifestyle’ echoed through households. Many made a conscious attempt to remove traces of plastic from their lives with eco-friendly alternatives and also raised their voice in support for environmental issues. Scuba divers, gardeners, restaurants and big hotels among others stepped up to create a greener world for themselves.

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Parents know best

Earlier this year, a group of environment-friendly parents formed Green Parenting Vizag (GPV). The objective — to leave a smaller carbon footprint with a zero-waste parenting approach. Over the months, the parents have held workshops to make eco friendly alternatives to use at home, making it a safe and green space for their children. Harika Punnami, for instance, has been making her own bio enzyme cleaners and sharing the recipe with those in the group. Others like Gayathri Sreeramaneni and Ravi Kanth Reddy Sathi shared ways and means of having parties in an entirely eco-friendly way. All it required was a little thoughtfulness.

Other groups like Green Face and Citizens Association of Responsible Tourism have been leading a ‘green’ crusade over the past one year. “I believe awareness can be created by setting an example yourself,” says Lakshmi Sudha, a member of both the groups and a resident of Rushikonda. From eliminating plastic bags and reducing plastic packaging at home to home composting, Sudha has been relentlessly setting an example of living a zero-waste lifestyle. She segregates dry and wet waste and hands over her e-waste and plastic waste packages to firms like Green Waves Environmental Solutions. “I have moved away from using refined oils to cold pressed oils procured in metal containers from the mills. Even in restaurants, I prefer taking my own containers for takeaways or eat there itself to avoid food delivery and thereby the use of packaging,” she adds. Sudha has been talking about leading a green life at schools and for the residents of her colony.

Vintage mason jar and multicolored paper straws

Vintage mason jar and multicolored paper straws

Who needs straws!

Hotels and restaurants across the city invested in more sustainable and greener practices. Albeit at a slow and small scale, baby steps were taken. While bigger players like Hotel Novotel replaced plastic straws and stirrers with paper and wooden ones, Athidhi Devo Bhava served food on banana leaves and used copper glasses and clay pots. Cafes like Bean Board and Plot 17 also took small steps towards going eco-friendly by replacing plastic water bottles with glass ones and plastic straws with metal ones.

Action underwater

A group of divers from Rushikonda made headlines across the country for diving off the Rushikonda coast. Diving 32 times, the five divers collected 9,500 kilograms of submerged garbage.

Their initiative was lauded by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his weekly radio broadcast ‘Mann Ki Baat’. “What does one do when their house gets dirty? They clean it; that’s exactly what we decided to do as the sea is our second home,” says scuba diver Subhash Chandra of Playtipus Escapes who led the initiative. During the dives, tons of discarded plastic, cloth pieces, old footwear and torn fishing nets were retrieved and disposed of at GVMC allocated dustbins.

Green exercise

Travel and trek startups took special care too. “When animals or birds migrate from one place to other, they do not pollute that area, then why should humans be an exception?” questions Ravi Kiran, founder of Treksome, a city-based adventure group. The group that takes people on Nature trails in and around Visakhapatnam has been plogging during its treks. Plogging is huge globally now as people combine fitness and environmental-consciousness by picking up trash while they jog or walk.

“We encourage our trekkers to pick up plastic bottles, glass bottles and wrappers during the treks. We carry jute bags to collect that trash ,” adds Ravi. The adventure company also provides people with a discount of five per cent if they pick up over 10 bottles during their trek. “Most are glad to collect the garbage as many are aware of the impact plastic has on our lives. There is an increasing shift in the mindset of people who are now using metal water bottles and steel tiffin boxes rather than carrying the plastic ones,” he says. The group plans these plogging treks in Araku areas where the footfall of tourists is high.

‘No littering’ is the first rule that the founders of Stardust Adventures follow. The city-based adventure company ensures that people going along with them do not bring single-use plastic. “We carry a big water dispenser with us and ask people to refill their bottles from it. Though we do not force anyone to pick up trash on our treks, most of them volunteer when they see organisers picking up cans or bottles,” says Vimal Raj, founder of the company. After every trek, the trash is brought back to the city and disposed in public-use dustbins. “Most of the treks happen in interior areas of Araku and Paderu where there is no strong waste disposal system, so we bring the trash back,” says Vimal Raj.


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2022 11:35:37 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/a-year-of-green-crusaders-in-visakhapatnam/article30296019.ece