Nearly 75 children, aged between 11 to 13 years, spent hours clearing up garbage from the Mula-Mutha riverbed near Sangamwadi yesterday. The kids who came from schools across the city were lending a helping hand to the Pune unit of the Sea Cadet Corps (SCC).
They managed to rid the riverbed of 312 kgs of accumulated garbage in two-and-a-half-hours, a sizeable quantity considering that the civic body claims to clean the riverbed every month.
Expressing surprise over the vast quantity of litter, Lt. Joshua Aston, commanding Officer, SCC Pune unit, said, “We were surprised to see that all 95 bins brought by us for the drive were filled to the brim with rubbish. We, however, did not find any dead animal in the river like last year. But, the quantity of the garbage collected this year is certainly more than last year.”
“Although Pune is not blessed with a sea front, the Mula-Mutha Rivers are its lifeline and that is why this water body should be cleaned. Therefore, once in a year, we take our students to clean the riverbed to ensure they understand the value of water and the benefits of a clean surrounding,” added Lt. Aston.
Std VIII student Rutuja Khule also expressed her concern over the broken tubelights and bulbs dumped on the riverbed. She said that the sharp materials and other waste materials like plastic, sanitary napkins and empty alcohol bottles could prove harmful to animals that frequent the riverbed.
Questioning the rationale behind dumping trash that can be recycled for other useful purposes, 13-year-old Mudra Gajare said, “Instead of throwing away political banners in the trash, why aren’t they being utilised to build roofs for poor people residing in the city?”
The Pune unit of SCC has been providing training to school students for the last six years, after getting inspired by the US-based organisation ‘Ocean Conservancy’, which stresses on maintaining cleanliness on beaches.
Zonal commissioner of PMC, Suresh Jagtap, claimed that with the help of various NGOs, the civic body every month cleaned the riverbed across the city. When asked how the kids picked vast quantity of garbage from Sangamwadi area, Jagtap said it must be due to the citizen’s activity during the Ganesh Festival