Greater people participation must for clean Yamuna: Experts

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Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, Oct 2 (UNI) Even as the Delhi government and Delhi Jal Board are engaged in efforts to clean the Yamuna through innovative ventures like the Interceptor Sewage Treatment Project, those involved in the river's cleaning are of the view that greater people's participation in the ''Clean Yamuna Campaign'' is a must to ensure fructification of steps taken in this direction.

''Since a clean Yamuna is most vital for the health of Delhiites, there is a need for large-scale awareness and involvement of people in the 'Clean Yamuna Campaign','' says Kiron Wadhera of the Asian Centre for Organisation Research and Development (Acord), a Non-Governmental Organisation which is partnering with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) towards mobilising people's participation in efforts to make the river clean.

''At present, the Yamuna does not register in most people's thinking, knowledge or awareness. Therefore, a concerted effort to deal with the rational mind of the public and their emotional, cultural and religious beliefs is essential,'' Ms Wadhera told UNI during the course of 'Yamuna Yatra', organised by the MCD and Acord as part of the People's Participation and Awareness (PP and A) Component under the Yamuna Action Plan II (YAP II) .

Comprising Municipal Councillors, MCD officials, representatives of RWAs, funding agencies, and NGOs, led by ACORD, 'Yamuna Yatra', a key initiative under the 'Clean Yamuna Manch', involved a travel by delegates from Delhi to Barkot, near Yamnotri, in Uttarakhand to study the state of the Yamuna there and then make comparisons with the state of the river in the 22 km stretch between Wazirabad and Okhla in the national capital, considered to be the most polluted.

''The main objective of 'Yamuna Yatra' is to bring Yamuna to ''top of the mind'' of the people so as to enable them to contribute to efforts towards cleaning the river in a number of innovative ways,'' she underlined.

The superordinate mandate for Acord's mandate for 'Clean Yamuna Manch' is to create and sustain ''top of the mind'' awareness and major mindshare for the Yamuna, its sources of pollution and clean up in the mindset of the people.

Led by Delhi Deputy Mayor Divya Jaiswal, the 'Yamuna Yatra' saw Municipal councillors from West zone, Nazafgarh and Central Zone of the city, MCD officials, members of various Resident Welfare Associations in East, South and West Delhi and officials of funding agencies under the YAP II like the National River Conservation Directorate under the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests and Japanese Bank for International Cooperation brainstorm on ways to bring the issue of cleaning of the Yamuna uppermost on the minds of the public.

Among the various suggestions put forward by delegates of the 'Yamuna Yatra' were setting up of camps to spread awareness of various issues pertaining to Yamuna cleaning, educating children not to create garbage through street plays in areas where children play and appointment of a brand ambassador for the 'Clean Yamuna Campaign'.

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