Initiatives for Youth Participation in River Rejuvenation
To enhance the participation of youth in rejuvenation of River Ganga under the ‘Namami Gange Programme‘, the National Mission for Clean Ganga, Ministry of Jal Shakti, in association with the APAC News Network, organised the third edition of the Webinar Series ‘Igniting Young Minds, Rejuvenating Rivers‘. The hour-long session saw the participation of leading experts and educators from across the country.
Director General, NMCG, Shri G. Asok Kumar who presided over the session, laid emphasis on the phrase ‘Catch them Young‘ and said that it is imperative that young minds are ignited about the significance of water conservation and river rejuvenation. Drawing an analogy between water and the youth, Shri Kumar said that both have tremendous powers inherent in them, if channelised constructively, they provide a basis for life. In this way, he said that ‘Jal Shakti’ and ‘Yuva Shakti’ are similar.
Shri G. Asok Kumar further asserted that Small changes could bring big results, while expressing pleasure over having more than 47 lakh rainwater harvesting structures which were constructed under Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain campaign. He said that one should start by reviving small rivers/rivulets. He urged on the leading educators to use their influence over the youth and inculcate in them the practices of not just saving but respecting water and rivers.
The eminent panellists of the webinar included Dr. P.B. Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Amity University, Haryana; Dr. Shailendra Kumar Tiwary, Dean, KIET Group of Institutions, Delhi-NCR and Dr. Surya Prasada Rao Suvvaru, Director, Teaching Learning Cell, Sharda University, Greater Noida.
Dr. P. B Sharma said that not only the youth, but also the minds of engineers, scientists, municipality officials and other stakeholders must be ignited for river conservation and rejuvenation. He emphasized that there’s a need to adopt extensive water harvesting strategies. Sustainable consumption of water and moderation of habits and lifestyles incorporating water conservation is what is needed today, he said, adding that institutions like ‘Water-tech Centres‘ must be established throughout the country.
Dr. Shailendra Kumar Tiwary said that country’s river ecosystem is a complex mosaic of interaction of biotic and abiotic resources and that it must be preserved and conserved with the utmost care. He added that environmental sustainability has been given due emphasis in 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and maintaining ecological integrity of a river as a perennial resource is important.
Dr. Surya Prasad Rao Suvvaru said that community-connect programmes always bring wondrous results regarding water conservation and river rejuvenation. He urged on the need to encourage students to take up socially relevant and viable projects and said that efficient water recycling and reusing approaches must be adopted.