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'We are stewards of Mother Earth, not owners'

Shweta Sharma, Oct 05, 2016, DHNS 0:13 IST

For a cause

Inspired from Keep America/Australia/ and New Zealand Beautiful, Keep India Beautiful (KIB) is a national non-profit organisation that strives towards educating people to keep their communities clean. Attempting to tackle issues of cleanliness, waste disposal and water and air pollution, among others, it provides expertise, resources and programmes, to realise the dream of ‘a clean, green and healthy India’.

In a conversation with Metrolife, directors Puneet Puri and Vishal Sethi talk to Shweta Sharma about their initiative, campaigns, and how it is time to do your bit for the environment.

When was KIB launched, and what is the main idea?
KIB got registered in 2010, but it’s only in 2016 that it became more actively involved in different campaigns and research studies related to environment. Time has come for all citizens to deliberate and foresee the challenges related to our environment and ecology. It is time to reflect on why we are surrounded by
so much litter and are not getting clean air and water.

There are various cleanliness campaigns, how is KIB different?
KIB is adding to all these campaigns. The idea is to come together and keep India beautiful and healthy. We work at the ground level and help people understand what is good for the environment is also good for humanity, our nation, our kids and us. It is our right to have clean air, clear rivers, abundance of trees, organic fruits and vegetables including all animals and species. We focus a lot on health, fitness and well-being.

Can you talk about your programmes and campaigns?
To start with, KIB is focusing on the following programmes: adopt a road or park; construction and maintenance of roadside toilets; beautification of walls; recycling and waste management, and health and well-being.
We recently organised ‘Run to Clean’ campaign at Connaught Place, where runners were armed with biodegradable garbage backpacks and gloves, and were cleaning the Inner Circle.
They then dumped the garbage in a nearby dump yard. Various kind of cleanliness events have also been organised in Noida and other NCR regions.
Alongside, drive to educate school students regarding clean environment has been running in few schools wherein children are involved in various activities and games that stimulate their interest in proper waste management which spurs them to put what they have learnt into practice.
And, KIB also works on research papers and blogs spreading awareness and knowledge regarding cleanliness, environment and ecology for the benefit of the
society.

What kind of response you have received?
We have received great response from students and public at large. Also, government at the local, state, and central level, NGOs and corporates are showing keen interest to work with us. This shows that different institutions are willing to work if they get an appropriate platform.

What according to you, needs to be done to achieve the goal of keeping India beautiful?
We believe that we are the stewards of Mother Earth and its natural resources, not
owners. What we have received from our forefathers, it’s our duty to pass it safely to the next generation. But we have already exploited it so much that if we do not pay attention to sustainable development, we’re surely leading to a disastrous end.

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