LIFE

Mission green

One of the posters of Vijay Ram.

One of the posters of Vijay Ram.  

Six-year-old Shravya is busy explaining the perils of polythene use to her classmates. As they listen to her words of `wisdom,' Shravya's father wears a contended smile. For, Shravya is following his footsteps. Meet M. Vijay Ram, the unassuming green corp, who breathes and lives for green environment. No polythene or plastic for him.

The 30-something Machilipatnam man has his sight set on making the city get rid of polythene. On World Environment Day every year, school students scamper in dozens for the green brigadier for his posters and paperback covers that has public service messages like `Cast away polythene,' `Conserve rainwater,' `Save environment,' etc. Why students?

"Because they are the future generation and if my message for a clean and green environment reaches even 10 per cent of the strata in Hyderabad, I will be happy," reveals Ram. Come rain or shine, this has been the routine for Ram. He says it's his way of paying back for his `janmabhoomi.' "My wish is to continue this drive against polythene and now my aim of my life." What if it doesn't work out the way he wants? "No problems. I have decided to take up this as a mission. We can't violate our environment and expect it to serve us," he says. Ram designs and paints posters. Being an artist himself, he understands the importance of the visual appeal for his campaign. He has got over 2,000 posters printed on six different themes. Into the seventh year of his campaign, Ram says public response has been mixed. Ram, who runs a sweet shop to finance his campaign, admits his customers do have reservations on the anti-polythene drive. To drive home the message, he packs sweets in boxes and paperback carry bags with eco-friendly messages in Telugu, English and Hindi.

Some customers do appreciate and show interest in his campaign. In fact, a few of them return the cartons to be used again. What more. His shop is named `Emerald,' tantalising green gemstone. Recently, he distributed posters against use of polythene to students of six schools. Despite lack of support from any voluntary organisation or a sponsor, Ram is undeterred and is very passionate about continuing the campaign. He is also planning to gift a plant each to the customer buying a pack of sweets to exemplify the importance of green cover. "To me, nature and art are like God," says Ram.

By Arun Kumar. G

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