n the last couple of decades, efforts to render
cities environmentally and socially sustainable have culminated in a new
phenomenon – the so-called eco-city. Throughout the 1980s and early
1990s, the term ‘eco-city’ remained mainly a concept, a collection of
ideas and propositions with practical examples relatively few and far
Since the mid 2000s, the phenomenon appears to have
become increasingly global against the background of the international
recognition of the scale and severity of climate change and rapid
urbanisation taking place particularly in the developing world.
As the green movement continues to gain momentum,
cities across the country are asking what they can do to become greener
and more sustainable. This article highlights the work of a champion who
is proudly serving his beloved city, Mirzapur in the state of Uttar
Debadityo Sinha, prize winner of the Best Story Award
under ‘The City I Want’ Campaign1 is
a self-trained young environmental activist, film maker and an expert in
conservation outreach. While studying in university doing his Masters in
Environmental Science and Technology, the apathy of the authorities
towards the natural heritage of the Vindhyan range caught his attention.
It made him start a civil society organisation by the name of ‘Vindhya
Bachao’ to work on issues of waste management, environmental governance
and policy advocacy. Debadityo’s documentary film ‘Vindhyan Scourge’
became a source of inspiration to many and helped address several issues
with the help of the mass media.
One of Debadityo’s and his organisation’s biggest
achievements has been the revival of eco-tourism in the previously waste
ridden waterfall area in the Vindhyas close to the city of Mirzapur.
Tourists had stopped going to the beautiful Windham falls, Tanda falls
and Lower Khajuria falls as there was piles of garbage dumped there.
Debadityo along with a number of other student volunteers cleaned up the
entire waste from the forest. The local media was involved in
highlighting the change. Soon, eco-tourism to this belt of the
Vindhyachal range revived. This helped generate more jobs and boosted
the local economy.
Debadityo is also known for successfully banning
polythene use from the BHU South Campus situated in Mirzapur. He started
organising several open debates in the university on issues of waste
recycling and safe disposal of hazardous waste materials. This resulted
in a ‘zero waste policy’ for BHU being made for the first time.
Shopkeepers have now voluntarily stopped giving items in polybags.
Presently Debadityo is engaged in increasing
transparency and accountability in environmental clearance processes for
industrial projects in the area. We wish him all the best in his efforts
to clean his city and its surrounding areas.
1 ‘The City I Want’ Campaign started by Development Alternatives is a
youth led social media initiative aimed towards improving the current
environmental scenario of cities in India.
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