GUWAHATI, June 9: WWF-India’s Assam state office orchestrated a cleanliness drive at Lachit Ghat in Guwahati, situated on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The initiative, held on World Ocean Day on Thursday, resulted in a cleaner riverbank. The cleanup was a collaborative effort involving WWF-India, Earthful Foundation, Gauhati University NSS Cell, Assam Forest School Representatives, Assam Cycling Community, WWF Assam Volunteers from TISS, Handique Girls’ College, SB Deorah College, Gauhati Commerce College, Pragjyotish College, Mahatma Gandhi University, police personnel, PCBA, and GMC members.
The event commenced at 7:45 am under the banner of the Tide Tuners Plastic Challenge, the world’s largest youth-led movement dedicated to reducing plastic waste in their lives and communities. UNEP, in partnership with WWF-India and CEE, has implemented and rolled out the challenge in India since 2019. During her inaugural speech, Archita Baruah Bhattacharyya, state coordinator of WWF-India AAPSO, informed the enthusiastic participants that this cleanliness drive is a nationwide initiative of WWF India. The participants took a pledge – ‘Let’s minimise the use of plastics in our life’ as a step towards the solution to plastic pollution, aligning with this year’s theme – ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
Dr Ranjan Kr Kakati, director of Students’ Welfare at Gauhati University, appealed to all citizens of the country to avoid using plastic and protect Mother Earth in his speech. He emphasised the need for widespread awareness about the harmful effects of plastic use. Distinguished guests, including Dr Shantanu Dutta, member secretary of Pollution Control Board of Assam, Dr Ranjan Kr Kakati, DSW, GU & NSS coordinator, Dr Ranjit Sarma, principal of Handique Girls’ College, and faculty members Dr Jamini Buragohain from SB Deorah College and Dr Manjit Kr Mazumdar from Pragjyotish College, as well as Kaushik Guha, a cyclist cum environmentalist, participated in the cleanliness drive alongside other professionals. Dr Ranjit Sarma, principal of Handique Girls’ College, delivered an inspiring speech, highlighting the significance of such awareness programs for society, the environment, and the youth.
The state coordinator of WWF-India Assam & Arunachal Pradesh state office expressed gratitude to all participants, volunteers, and organisations for their support. She stressed the importance of collaborative efforts in preserving the natural heritage of the region and building a sustainable future. She also urged individuals and communities to adopt responsible waste management practices and be mindful of their environmental impact.
A total of 10 gunny bags were filled with waste and handed over to the GMC for proper disposal. The majority of the collected waste, weighing approximately 100 kg, consisted of plastic carry bags, plastic wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic straws, single-use plastic spoons and bowls, and masks. Participants expressed concern over the escalating plastic pollution in the mighty Brahmaputra River, which eventually finds its way into the ocean. These accumulated plastics pose a grave threat to the aquatic ecosystem and its inhabitants, ultimately compromising our health, food security, and the livelihoods of fishermen.