10 Year Old Green Warrior From Mumbai Takes on the Global Environment Threat
The Roadside Vendor Acknowledges Niel's Initiative
A young eco-warrior from Mumbai has taken on the global environment threat by going door-to-door and distributing paper bags made out of newspapers, to shop keepers and hawkers as part of the “Swachh Bharat” and “Say No to Plastic” environmental campaigns.
A Grade 4 student of Gundecha School at Kandivali East, Niel Bhandarkar, regularly crafts paper bags from used newspapers, to reduce the negative environmental impact of plastic.
Motivated and guided by his grandfather Dr. K.L. Bhandarkar, who himself is a Lifetime Achievement Awardee from the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh for his health & community services, this 10 year old has handed over more than 2000 such bags between September-October 2017. He affords tips on request from hawkers and shopkeepers on how to help keep our environment protected and pollution-free.
Niel started campaigning from 15th August 2017 and has so far mobilized & motivated his friends to join hands in making our earth pollution free.
"My main motivation for preparing waste paper bags is to educate and persuade people to give up plastic which is not only toxic but also does not bio-degrade for many many years. Our generation should take steps to make our mother earth beautiful, liveable and save it from destruction. My grandfather told me about the harm Mumbaikars are causing by using plastics which are blocking sewers and creating ecological imbalance due to this irresponsible practice which also leads to flooding in the city every year”.
Niel’s mother Nivedita & elder sister Niharika are the driving force and she has been extending her support to his initiative. Now, this crusader has bigger plans: to extend his idea to conserve the environment by forming a group of friends who believe in protecting the environment – FoE (Friends of the Earth).
For his initiative, many organizations and celebrities have supported and appreciated Niel. Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch which is working for Swachh Bharat and Bollywood & TV actor Mukesh Khanna ‘Shaktiman’ who is Chairperson of Children's Film Society, India (Govt of India) have both validated his work and extended their support to take Niel’s initiative to a bigger level.
“Initially when he started, Niel found few takers for this idea but when he started getting good response and endorsements by various dignitaries, many kids joined in and started working for this cause. "The big idea have small beginnings, but important is a start and I am glad that kids are now aware of the dangers of plastic", says his mother Nivedita, who is a teacher and home maker.
The mother-son duo go to shopkeepers and hawker to tell them how dangerous plastic bags can be for human kind as well as animals and urge them to use paper bags and/or to insist that their customers carry cotton bags. Initially there was resistance and that had put them off. But gradually, the shopkeepers understood the issue and assured them that they would try and push customers to shed plastic bags and use cotton ones.
“Looking at today’s situation, it is important for every global citizen to work for the future. The condition is deteriorating day by day and we all need to work together. Especially for a city like Mumbai, where water clogging, water contamination, garbage dumping & disposal, air and sound pollution are major issues. We all have to come together to make our city better”, he says.
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