The idea was fairly simple: invite members of the community to come together and clean the riverside, with the aim of building awareness towards the plight of Pune’s waste management systems and how we have (perhaps inadvertently) contributed to an unsafe and unhygienic water body flowing through our city. If the right tools were provided, and the right people were present for guidance, maybe this exercise could propel a movement of conscientious consumption and disposal practices — leading to a brighter and more sustainable future.
In an ideal scenario, this sort of activity could be a means to an end. But the unavoidable truth is that this problem is overwhelmingly complex and any efforts to solve it cannot begin and end in a day. This requires a concerted, long-term approach, with a keen eye on the factors that add up to a well organised and highly effective initiative.
To this end, focus was placed on monitoring the activity — from the volunteers who arrived and the motivation that brought them, to the amount of waste collected, segregated, and disposed; the aim was to accurately understand the nature of the project and its constituents.
The outcome was remarkable.
Not only was a substantial amount of waste collected, but people were dumbfounded at the items that were uncovered.
It was also noteworthy to find a lot more cloth than anyone had imagined. All the cloth and the dust and the plastic were entwined together, entangled with the roots of plants, thereby crippling them and loosening the soil by the banks of the river. The family of pigs that lived close by were quite likely filling their stomachs with shreds of plastic and paper, and one can only imagine what’s happening underneath the water’s surface.
This initiative by AIESEC in Pune is part of the Global Goals Drive, which aims to support the Global Goals of the United Nations. The River Clean-up Drive is in line with Global Goal No. 6: Clean Water & Sanitation.
AIESEC intends to keep the initiative going, but its success relies heavily on your support. If you’re reading this and interested in volunteering, or you have an idea for better waste management, or you have resources that could potentially catalyse valuable impact, please write in at firstname.lastname@example.org
AIESEC, an international non-governmental not-for-profit organisation, provides young people with leadership development and cross-cultural global internship and volunteer exchange experiences across the globe, with a focus to empower young people so they can make a positive impact on society. The AIESEC network includes approximately 70,000 members in 127 countries and territories.